LAHORE: Apart from other obstacles, the difference of around $80 to $100 per tonne in the export price of rice, foreign buyers mainly from EU have diverted their import orders of around 40,000 tonnes rice to India.
As per details, 70 percent of the international buyers from EU countries have diverted orders from Pakistan to the Indian millers mainly due to price difference price.
Currently Pakistani rice export price to Dubai is hovering at around $1,250 per ton while India sells her non-basmati rice variety at $1,150 per ton. Pakistan basmati rice export price is at around $700 per tonne while Indian variety of Pusa (copy of basmati rice) is easily available for $625 per tonne.
According to Pakistan Rice Exporters Association, the government, instead of supporting the exporters, is planning to interfere in rice market through procurement, causing further decline in rice export and depriving the country of precious foreign exchange.
The association said that rice export was almost stagnant due to high prices of rice in Pakistan as govt did not provide any subsidy to farmers on agri inputs. On the other hand, subsidy from Indian government to growers as well as rice exporters, have seriously affected the rice export of Pakistan, causing decline of more than 30 per cent.
The subsidy on rice by Indian government in the name of food security is currently hurting directly millions of Pakistani farmers who are already facing various challenges due to past two consecutive floods in Pakistan.
The govt, instead of disturbing market phenomena by procuring rice, should compensate farmers by providing them free seeds, free pesticides, free water, free fertilizer, free electricity and other facilities. He recalled that in year 2008 PASSCO had procured 200,000 M/Tons rice with prices higher than the prevailing market and even after 6 years they could not disposed of these stocks and ultimately government had to face up to Rs24 billion loss.
Experts said that the government involvement in such business activity would be harmful to the private sector who had invested billion of rupees to build an infrastructure and human resources, turning the country into the 2nd largest foreign exchange earner through rice export.
The association also regretted that presently, the rice exporters are utilizing warehouses of Trade Corporation of Pakistan and Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation Ltd, storing more than 200,000 tons rice there for export purpose and if this facility is withdrawn, the exporters will be unable to procure the commodity, as they cannot arrange alternative arrangement at such a huge level in very short span.