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LAHORE: Stakeholders have expressed the fear that losses incurred by the rice crop 2022 in Sindh and Southern Punjab will not only hit the production target but may also make it hard to meet the export targets.

Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) Chairman and Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) founder Shahzad Ali Malik claimed that 35 percent of the total rice crop sown in Sindh and 29 percent of the total rice crop sown in South Punjab has been damaged due to the floods and rains.

Presiding over a meeting on Thursday, PHHSA Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik said that farmers’ associations put the losses at about 200,000 tonnes of rice, an estimate also supported by a Singapore-based trading company, he said while quoting the United Nation World Food Organization

“We are estimating around 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of rice loss in these floods which will be reflected in Pakistan’s exports.”

He said Pakistan is slogging through one of the most devastating disaster in the country’s history on account of floods. Besides Sindh and South Punjab, other rice growing areas were also partially hit by excessive heat waves. He said deadly flood destroyed vast hectares of cotton and rice crops, a key source of employment and foreign exchange for the nation.

Shahzad Ali Malik said: “Pakistan is forecasted to have lost 10% of its 2022 estimated rice production of around 8.7 million tonnes”.

It will be difficult to meet rice exports target, he added.

He demanded the government to provide interest free loans to all flood hit farmers across the country on top priority besides provision of all agricultural inputs on highly subsidised rate.

He said PHHSA soon dispatching relief goods consignment in Sindh and South Punjab. He said PHHSA is taking stock of the situation and will take up matter with government after receiving final reports of losses.

Hamid Malik, a rice trade analyst while talking to Business Recorder said Pakistan last year’s rice production was 8.9 million tonnes. We had a surplus of 1.598 million tonnes fm FY20-21 crop which made total supplies of FY21-22 at 10.58 million tonnes. Domestic consumption for human and animal needs was 4.0 million tonnes last year which left an exportable surplus of 6.5 million tonnes out of which Pakistan exported record 4.81 million tonnes during the financial year 2021-22. However, he added this year we fear a loss of 500,000 tonnes in rice export due to less exportable rice. This year expected production is 8.1 million tonnes. Pakistan had a carryover of 1.098 million tonnes from the year 2021-22 crop which will make total supplies 9.2 million tonnes, 1.38 million tonnes less than last year. Domestic consumption for food & feed this year is expected to be 4.2 million tonnes thus export surplus will be about 5.2 metric tonnes.

“It means this year export can be less at 4.3 million tonnes as compared to 4.8 million tonnes in FY21-22,” he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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