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Pakistan rice exports to Middle East increase

10 August 20202 min reading

According to USDA, Pakistan’s basmati exports rose nearly 13 percent to 92,454 tons in May 2020 as compared to 81,902 tons in the same month of last year. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and other regional countries remained the major destination for Pakistani basmati rice.

Pakistan rice exports to the Middle East increased after India imposed a strict lockdown on its exports in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), exports of Pakistani rice increased nearly 59 percent to $420 million in April 2020. The Middle East is the main market for India’s basmati rice exports. When India imposed its lockdown, Middle East importers looked to Pakistan for supplies and for the first time in its history, Pakistan achieved more than 100,000 metric tons of basmati exports in a month (109,140 metric tons of basmati rice in April). Pakistan’s basmati exports rose nearly 13 percent to 92,454 tons in May 2020 as compared to 81,902 tons in the same month of last year. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and other regional countries remained the major destination for Pakistani basmati rice. As international demand has spiked due to panic buying amid Covid-19, Pakistan’s rice exports to the European Union (EU), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, China, and Africa are aso expected to increase. The increase is expected in both basmati and nonbasmati varieties. Exports of non-basmati rice exports, however, declined during the same period mainly due to international transportations disruptions caused by COVID-19. The major markets for non-basmati varieties are Africa and China and exporters were finding it difficult to export rice to these destinations. According to rice exporters these disruptions are now largely addressed and non-basmati exports to these destinations are also expected to rise in the coming months. USDA forecasts Pakistan’s rice exports for MY 19/20 at 4.4 MMT. Pakistan has so far exported around 2.7 MMT of rice during the first seven months of the current marketing year. There were reports of some disruptions of supply chain in the initial period of the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the problems have been resolved and the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) expects exports to increase during the remainder of the marketing year.

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