Pakistani rice exporters losing out to India

Published: December 22, 2011
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“Pakistani exporters are facing stiff competition from their Indian counterparts owing to low prices and excess supply of Indian rice,” Taufiq Ahmed Khan, former vice chairperson of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, told The Express Tribune. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMON

“Pakistani exporters are facing stiff competition from their Indian counterparts owing to low prices and excess supply of Indian rice,” Taufiq Ahmed Khan, former vice chairperson of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, told The Express Tribune. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMON

FAISALABAD: Pakistani rice exporters may eventually lose ground to more competitive Indian neighbours who have begun to edge out Pakistan in the international market.

“Pakistani exporters are facing stiff competition from their Indian counterparts owing to low prices and excess supply of Indian rice,” Taufiq Ahmed Khan, former vice chairperson of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, told The Express Tribune. “Indian rice is available for $150 per ton less than Pakistani rice.”

Total rice production in Pakistan is estimated to be 6.5 million tons this year, of which expected exports are 4.3 million tons.

Pakistan’s rice exports have fallen 13% compared to 2010, said Khan, adding that so far Pakistan has exported rice worth $800 million. “Last year, the country exported $2.2 billion worth of rice and exporters are struggling to meet that figure this year,” Khan said. On the other hand, India still has 27 million tons left over from last year’s crop and has produced surplus rice this year as well.

Among other reasons for increased Indian competitiveness, said Khan, is the lifting of a three-year ban on non-basmati rice exports and devaluation of Indian currency by 18% to encourage domestic exports.

But in Pakistan, exporters are expected to miss the target despite high international demand for Pakistani rice and improved conditions in the local market.

“Pakistan exports rice to over 120 countries and there is great demand for our product,” says Haider Ali, a rice exporter.

But to provide this quality of rice and still be competitive, Pakistani exporters need government support.

Growers say that the Indian government facilitates farmers through subsidies, low price pesticides, urea and seeds. Electricity, which seems to be at the root of most of Pakistan’s troubles, is available to Indian agriculturalists for almost free. No such luck in Pakistan.

“Exporters are demanding comprehensive policies, including lifting a 1.5% tax on rice exports,” Khan said.

Rampant power outages also increase production cost in Pakistan. Mill-owners and exporters say electricity load-shedding forces exporters to miss delivery commitments and rely heavily on power generators for their power needs.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Kamran
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:45AM

    Oh thank God its only rice.. i though we are losing on every single front against India

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  • Why?
    Dec 22, 2011 - 6:13AM

    Comparisons to India in every field are never going to gain us self respect and international respect…….why is India the benchmark for us to compare everything? Why can’t we form a seperate and independent identity and a successful nation on our own? I am sick of this India obsession!!!!!

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  • sunil vohra
    Dec 22, 2011 - 9:08AM

    @why:I totally agree with you.

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:07AM

    Agreed with Why?. Our bench mark should be quality and honesty.

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  • rk
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:22AM

    @ Why, totally disagree with you. Whom will you compare Pakistan with ? Western europe,Japan and USA?

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  • Mukrram Hussain Awan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:56AM

    No doubt, we should not compare all the time with India as India is not a standard unit for us to compare ourselves. But at least we would have to adopt some standard unit.

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  • Dec 22, 2011 - 12:40PM

    @MHA – That Standard Unit Should be North Korea! XD

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  • Dec 22, 2011 - 12:41PM

    @Kamran:

    Not everything but almost everything, dude.

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  • Nitish
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:14PM

    Writing on the wall.. Can you see it?

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  • Anserali Khan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:22PM

    Pakistani rice exporters had good 3-5 years.They made tons of money
    Exports of commodities are governed by International commodity prices. Pakistan rice has become expensive so there is less export as India had carry over stock from last year and this year they have bumper crop.

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  • vasan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 3:16PM

    Kamran : Tell me where have u gained.

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  • Adil
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:36PM

    @vasan: Dont talk like that. Let me tell you taht if you ignore India then we are the No.1 economy in South Asia. Every Pakistani should be proud of this fact

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  • Ali
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:48PM

    @Why?: Mr. Why or others who endorsed his thoughts please always comment after some research. India is our competitor in rice export that’s why we are comparing with India. If we talk about garments export then China will be our competitor and we will compare China. This is the logic behind comparison with India here, got my point?

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  • Cautious
    Dec 22, 2011 - 6:14PM

    It’s a commodity — prices are set by Worldwide demand and supply — the concept that your loosing out to just India is ridiculous.

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  • alicia
    Dec 22, 2011 - 6:15PM

    @Adil
    Let me tell you taht if you ignore India then we are the No.1 economy in South Asia
    I don’t understand what u are saying can u explain please?

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  • John
    Dec 22, 2011 - 6:24PM

    The best wins….

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  • Adil
    Dec 22, 2011 - 7:02PM

    @alicia: Meant to say ignore India’s 1.8 trillion economy then we have a 180 billion economy that no other South Asian country can match. As i said if you ignore India. We should be proud of this

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  • Raj
    Dec 22, 2011 - 7:10PM

    As an Indian and rice grower myself back home, I confess that Pakistani rice are better than Indian rice.

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  • Raja
    Dec 22, 2011 - 8:00PM

    The GOI did not devalue the rupee. It was a free fall given the current economic situation. Also, while it is true that many states provide ‘free power’ to marginal farmers, those poor folks would be lucky to get an hour of power every day in the middle of the night

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  • khalis
    Dec 22, 2011 - 8:41PM

    @Raj: you are a bad farmer and grow bad crops. you cheat people saying its good quality while it is not

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  • Anjum
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:31AM

    @rk:
    Yes. The against best in the market. But he said not compare but Benchmark. That is the starting point for improvement.

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  • Raj
    Dec 23, 2011 - 9:35AM

    @khalis: You are getting personal. I have a feeling that you are not even a farmer. Every farmer loves his crop like his own children. To me you sound like a middleman. Why Pakistani rice are better because of rich soil and less consumption of fertilizers. You probably do not know that many Indian traders buy Pakistani rice and sell them as Indian rice. The sufferers are the poor farmers on both sides.Recommend

  • Hussain Syed
    Dec 28, 2011 - 3:17AM

    @Adil: Why? India with a population just a fifth bigger than us and land just 4 times bigger than us has an economy TEN times as big…

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