Pakistan is poised to achieve a record high in rice exports.

02 January 20242 min reading

According to the latest 'Grain: World Markets and Trade' report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Pakistan's rice exports are expected to reach a record high. The report highlights the unprecedented surge in Pakistan's rice export prices, reaching their highest level in over 15 years, driven by a remarkable 62 percent increase in the 2023/24 rice crop compared to the previous year, totaling an estimated 9 million tons.

Pakistan's rice sector is experiencing a remarkable boom, breaking export records and gaining a competitive edge on the global stage. With an abundance of exportable supplies and a marginal uptick anticipated in domestic consumption, Pakistan is forecasted to export a staggering 5 million tons of rice during the 2023/24 season. The country has emerged as the most price-competitive supplier globally, positioning itself to capture substantial market share in various price-sensitive markets in 2024.

The USDA report attributes Pakistan's flourishing rice exports to India's export restrictions, making it the most affordable supplier on the global market. Following India's ban on broken rice exports in September 2022, Pakistan capitalized on the opportunity to increase shipments, particularly to China, a major importer of broken rice.

The ban on non-parboiled non-basmati white rice exports from India in July further bolstered Pakistan's position. Despite limited supplies available from its 2022/23 crop at that time, Pakistan swiftly adapted, and with the onset of the harvest in October, the country began shipping significantly higher volumes. This situation has opened up avenues for Pakistan in markets traditionally served by India, especially in Africa and other regions.

More than half of Pakistan's rice exports consist of non-basmati white rice, with key markets including Kenya, Tanzania, and Malaysia. The report indicates that Pakistan is not only aiming to expand its exports to these traditional markets but is also eyeing new growth opportunities in markets previously dominated by India. Notably, Pakistan's reach has extended to the Western Hemisphere, with Haiti, importing over 100,000 tons of rice from Pakistan.

In addition to non-basmati white rice, Pakistan is a significant exporter of basmati rice, a fragrant variety that commands a premium price. “The major markets for basmati rice include the Middle East, Europe, and North America. India is the only competitor for this type of rice and has not banned exports of basmati rice, so Pakistan may face some challenges expanding market share for this variety,” USDA noted.

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