Pakistan’s rice exports to Middle East surge amid coronavirus lockdown

Pakistan’s rice exports to Middle East surge amid coronavirus lockdown
KARACHI: Pakistan’s rice exporters managed to increase their market share in the Middle East by almost 59 percent in April 2020 as India went into a strict lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, a businessman said.
In an interview, Senior Vice Chairman of the Rice Exporters’ Association of Pakistan (REAP) Muhammad Raza said, “The development has taken place at a time when the country’s other exports have significantly declined.”
Muhammad Raza said, “The Middle East is the main market of India’s basmati rice,” adding, “When New Delhi decided to impose the lockdown, the orders were diverted to Pakistan.” The REAP vice president also said, “The Indian lockdown also benefited Pakistan in the European and African markets.”
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country’s rice exports to the Middle East increased by 59 percent to $420 million in April 2020, and the export of basmati rice increased by 33 percent.”
Pakistan’s exports plummeted during April on the back of the pandemic, which forced businesses to suspend their operations due to the low demand and disruption in supply chains.
Pakistan is among the top 10 rice-producing countries in the world. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, the production of rice is expected to remain stagnant at 7.2 million tons in the current fiscal year (FY20).
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