LAHORE: The country is expected to produce record-breaking over 9 million tonnes of rice against all odds in the current fiscal year against the 8.9m tonnes produced in 2021-22.

The US Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN report for July 2022 forecasts a lower production at 8.4m tonnes in Pakistan.

However, local rice sector experts expect that Pakistan will harvest more than 9m tonnes of paddy in the forthcoming season because of weather conditions, increase in acreage and better availability of farm inputs.

“Above normal rain in July and the first week of August, late sowing of paddy in cotton fields of Sindh and south Punjab which were damaged due to heavy rains, will push for a record rice production,” says Hamid Malik.

The country has a carryover stock of around 1m tonnes but higher consumption of corn for animal feed purposes will leave more exportable surplus during FY23.

“Pakistan has big chances of rice exports up to 5m tonnes during the FY23 because of lower paddy production of over 10m tonnes in India as the crop was hit by erratic rains of monsoon there, Chinese crop was affected by high temperature, and Vietnam suffered untimely rain at harvesting time,” he says.

Due to these factors, global rice production will come down to 515m tonnes this year as against 519m tonnes last year leaving a gap of 4-5 million tonnes on the supply side, he estimates, adding global average price is expected to be higher than that of the ongoing season.

About the Basmati growers, he says they may get a lesser price for their produce this year but with higher per acre yield and a cut in expenses for pumping out subsoil water due to rains and better availability of urea may give them consolation.

He predicts that prices of non-Basmati rice varieties in the local market will be higher this year.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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