Mumbai: Pakistan, the world’s fifth-biggest rice exporter, may ship 15% less of the grain this year after a power shortage affected milling of paddy, adding to a global shortage of the cereal.
Exports may total 2.8 million tonnes (mt) in the year ending June from 3.3mt in theprevious season, Mohammad Azhar Akhtar, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, said in a telephone interview. The value may jump to as high as $2 billion from $1.2 billion.
Pakistan, where rice is not a staple food, aims to boost its share of the global market as prices rise to a record. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates global exports will decline 3.5% this year as China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Egypt curb shipments to secure supplies.
“There’s huge demand for Pakistan rice now,” Akhtar said. “We want to use this opportunity to capture world markets.”
FAO said in February that 36 nations including China face food emergencies this year. World rice stockpiles may total 72.1mt by the end of July, the lowest since 1984, the US Department of Agriculture said.
India, the world’s second-biggest producer, banned shipments of rice this week to curb inflation. Pakistan may not halt exports of the cereal, Akhtar said.