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Pak rice exports to reach $4b if ban not imposed PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 26 April 2008

As the government faces huge twin deficits, rice exporters hope that they can fetch over $4 billion in exports, provided the government does not ban rice exports, according to Internet.

In a meeting with the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday night, representatives of rice exporters assured the government that their association would come up with a new mechanism, which would avert any future crisis by ensuring the availability of rice in the local market, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Haji Muhammad Azhar Akhtar said while talking to The News.

Export figures will definitely double next year if the government does not curb export of the commodity, he hoped. Rice exports would touch $4 billion, while last year it was only $1.2 billion and were expected to remain at $1.5 billion this year.

Increasing prices of the commodity have made rice exporters quite optimistic to achieve this export target. It is also due to major rice producing countries being out of business because of domestic constraints, the REAP chairman said.

“We have accepted all the demands of the government and the government has accepted the demands from our side. However, the association is fine-tuning the modalities for making trade more liberal and transparent,” Haji added. “Although some of our members have reservations about stocking one million tonnes of the commodity without pledging or taking finance from the government.

We are doing it purely for the national interest,” REAP Chairman stated. The Association is also working on setting up ‘fair price shops’ throughout the country. This will ensure supply of rice in the local markets at affordable prices, Vice chairman REAP, Abdul Basir said.

Besides providing nearly 800,000 tonnes of rice as strategic reserves, they would also provide 200,000 tonnes at less than 10 per cent of the market price for USC operation, Basir added.

Pakistan has a total requirement of 700,000 tonnes basmati rice and 1.5 million tonnes of broken rice, whereas it had an estimated production of 5.5 million tonnes for this year.

Another report from Karachi adds: Rice prices restarted upward drive and finished higher by Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 per ton on Wednesday on strong demand from exporters and big traders, market sources said.

According to the sources, prices of Irri-6 increased from Rs35,000 to Rs38,000 per ton, D-98 and P-386 rice surged from Rs59,000 to Rs64,000 per ton and Super Basmati increased from Rs70,000 to Rs80,000 per ton.

On fears of stern action against hoarders, profiteers and speculators, prices of all rice varieties came crashing down from their record high level of Thursday (April 17) and finished lower by Rs6,000 to Rs15,000 per ton on Monday when a meeting between rice exporters and government officials was going on in Islamabad.

But as the much expected regulatory measures were not announced after the meeting, the market once again came under the grip of the ‘evil forces’ which are bent upon to make huge profits, the sources said.

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