Monday May 16, 2022

Pakistan to export surplus rice to new markets: Fakhar Imam

December 28, 2021

MULTAN: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Monday said the country would export surplus stock of rice to new markets, which were being explored globally.

With local consumption of rice at 3.5 million tonnes, the country has a glut of over eight million tonnes of the commodity. This could fetch the country $4 billion in foreign exchange, Imam said while talking to media at the Agriculture University. Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Ali and Pakistan Kissan Ittehad President Khalid Khokhar were also present on the occasion.

Talking about new markets, the minister said he had talked with Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdur Razaq Dawood about the exploration of new markets. Focusing on value-addition of agriculture and livestock products especially milk, the minister said Pakistan was the seventh largest producer of milk. “However, its value addition is only 30 percent,” he added.

Speaking about wheat production and targets, the minister said that the per acre wheat production has increased by one to two maund per acre due to the incumbent government’s efforts. During the last 12 years, the yield of wheat was about 30 maunds per acre, he added.

Moreover, both the provincial and federal governments were examining the wheat crop situation on a weekly basis for the first time in the country.

He said that 99 percent (16.7 million acres) sowing was completed on time in Punjab, with Sindh achieving 98 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 82 percent, and Balochistan achieving over 75 percent sowing target.

The government has also been maintaining track and trace records of wheat varieties given to farmers. This season, farmers have sown over 6.25 million tonnes of certified wheat seeds.

“Hopefully, in case of expected rains, the country would achieve set target of 28.9 million tonnes of wheat,” the minister added.

About the urea issue, Imam said production was fine; however, there was a problem in distribution and supply, and “the Punjab government was trying its best to ensure smooth supply”.

Last year, the production of urea was six million tonnes. During the ongoing season, the production was 300,000 tonnes more compared to last year, he said, mentioning that hoarding by some people was creating problems in distribution.

However, he assured that the government was taking strict action against the hoarders and profiteers and people were nabbed in this regard.

In the international market, the price of urea was over Rs10,500, and some people were trying to smuggle the essential farm input.

On subsidy, the minister said that the low price of urea in the country was due to Rs210 billion subsidy that was being given to the fertiliser manufacturers. About DAP fertiliser, Imam said that 70 percent of DAP was imported and its price was linked to the international rates.