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Bumper rice crop of 9 million tons achieved during current season: Imam

Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam on Monday said that owing to policy interventions and incentivizing local farming communities, the country had achieved bumper crop of rice, estimated over 9 million tons during current season as compared the output 8.4 million tons of same period of last year.

Addressing a press conference, he said that last year rice output was recorded at 8.4 million tons as against the domestic consumption of 3.5 million tons, adding that there were carryover stocks of over 2.5 million tons from the last year’s crop.

The carry over stocks of rice has further augmented the local rice output to 11.5 million tons as against the local requirements of 3.5 million tons, hence creating export surplus of about 8 million tons of rice during next year.

According to market survey, Pakistan has a potential to fetch $4.75 billion by exporting its surplus produce, he said adding that last year country earned $2.11 billion by exporting rice including basmati and others, which contributed in enhancing the farm income of growers and encouraged them to grow more.

Despite having a huge export potential, Pakistan was mostly exporting rice to five countries including China, UAE, Afghanistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during last three to five years, he said adding that efforts would be made to enhance rice exports to other countries of Africa and Latin America.

The minister said that Pakistan could achieve the exports targets of $4.75 billion by overcoming the challenges and to achieve this task coordinated efforts of both public and private sector need, adding that it would also help in sustainable economic growth and development of farming community.

Imam said that government efforts were bringing significant results as output of all major crops like wheat, rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane had touched the historic high during last three years, adding that over 87 million tons sugarcane output was also expected during current season.

Due to provision of subsidy on cotton crop, cotton arrival during current month reached to 6.8 million bales as against 4.1 million bales of same period last year, he said adding that targets set for cotton production would be achieved,which would have positive impact on allied sectors as well.

We were importing about 90% of edible oil to tackle with local requirements and enhanced output of cotton would help to produce cotton seed oil and reduce the reliance on imported oil, he remarked.

To a question, Imam said that sugar prices witnessed declining trend as some people tried to get undue benefit by creating artificial shortage and hoarding, adding that the prices of the commodity would further reduced as crushing season had begun.