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Bumper rice crop of 9 million tonnes achieved during current season: minister

Bumper rice crop

ISLAMABAD: Owing to the policy interventions and incentivising the local farming communities, Pakistan has achieved a bumper rice crop, estimated over 9 million tonnes during the current season, compared with the output of 8.4 million tonnes during the same period of the last year, a government official said.

Addressing a press conference, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said that last year rice output was recorded at 8.4 million tonnes as against the domestic consumption of 3.5 million tonnes, adding that there were carryover stocks of over 2.5 million tonnes from the last year’s crop.

The carryover stocks of rice has further augmented the local rice output to 11.5 million tonnes as against the local requirements of 3.5 million tonnes; hence, creating an export surplus of around 8 million tonnes of rice during the next year.

According to market survey, Pakistan has the potential to fetch $4.75 billion by exporting its surplus produce, he said, adding that last year, the country earned $2.11 billion by exporting rice, including basmati and other varieties, which contributed in enhancing the farm income of growers and encouraged them to grow more.

Despite having a huge export potential, Pakistan was mostly exporting rice to five countries, including China, the UAE, Afghanistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the last three to five years, the minister said, adding that efforts would be made to enhance rice exports to other countries of Africa and Latin America.

Pakistan could achieve the exports target of $4.75 billion by overcoming the challenges and to achieve this task coordinated efforts of both public and private sectors are needed, he said, adding that it would also help in sustainable economic growth and development of the farming community.

Imam said that the government’s efforts were bringing significant results, as the output of all the major crops such as wheat, rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane has touched the historic high during the last three years, adding that over 87 million tonnes of sugarcane output was also expected during the current season.

Due to the provision of subsidy on cotton crop, cotton arrivals during the current month reached 6.8 million bales as against 4.1 million bales during the same period last year, the minister said, adding that the targets set for cotton production would be achieved, which would have positive impact on allied sectors, as well.

“We were importing around 90 per cent of edible oil to tackle the local requirements and enhanced output of cotton would help produce cotton seed oil and reduce the reliance on imported oil,” he said.

To a question, Imam said that the sugar prices witnessed a declining trend, as some people tried to get undue benefit by creating artificial shortage and hoarding, adding that the prices of the commodity would further reduce, as the crushing season has started.

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