Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, on Monday, told media that Pakistan had achieved a bumper crop of rice, estimated at over 9 million tons during the current season.
Addressing a press conference, the Minister said that the bumper crop has been achieved owing to the policy interventions and incentives offered to the farmers by the government.
He said that last year rice output was recorded at 8.4 million tons as against the domestic consumption of 3.4 million tons and there was carryover stock of over 2.5 million tons from last year.
The minister said that with the addition of the carryover stock, the total available stock of rice has risen to 11.5 million tons as against the local requirement of 3.5 million tons, creating an export surplus of about 8 million tons of rice during next year.
Imam said the country has the potential to fetch $4.75 billion by exporting its surplus produce. The Minister suggested that a committee should be formed under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan to push the exports of rice.
He said that Pakistan was mostly exporting rice to China, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia during the last five years. He pointed out that there is huge potential for rice exports to Africa and Latin America. The minister stressed the need for Pakistani embassies to play a proactive role in further increasing the export of rice.
The Minister praised the farmers for their contribution and said that during the current season record production of corn, wheat and sugarcane has also been achieved.
He said that cotton arrival till the current month has reached 6.8 million bales as against 4.1 million bales during the same period last year. Imam expressed hope that the target of 8.5 million bales will be achieved.
To a question, Imam said that sugar prices were artificially increased by certain individuals, adding that the prices will come down further when the crushing season starts.