ISLAMABAD: Erratic weather has hit rice production in Pakistan this year, and to take account of the damage, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its end-of-the-season report has downgraded its production forecast for the country by 600,000 tonnes to 8.7m tonnes (5.8 million tonnes, milled basis).
The revised figure nevertheless suggests a five percent increase from the poor 2012 harvest, supported by larger area coverage, according to the latest issue of ‘Rice Market Monitor’, published by the FAO. The FAO report says that after three consecutive years of flood-related losses, Pakistan was again battered by torrential rains and subsequent floods in August. The two main rice-producing regions of Punjab and Sindh were affected by flooding, particularly the basmati-growing areas of Punjab.
The monitor observed that after reaching a high of 3.5 million tonnes in 2010, rice exports by Pakistan have come under increasing pressure due to severe electricity shortages.
While affordable prices in the non-basmati segment are expected to keep 2013 shipments from Pakistan at 3 million tonnes, or seven percent above 2012 levels, the outlook for 2014 has been dampened by prospects of intense competition for markets.