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Pakistan's rice exports to China increased 133% in 2021

By Zafar Hussain | China Economic Net Feb 14, 2022

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (China Economic Net) - Pakistan's export of rice to China (HS Code 1006) crossed $400 million in 2021, up 133 percent year on year, and in the first five months of the last year once Pakistan remained the largest rice supplier to China, according to the official data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).

The Commercial Counselor of the Pakistan Embassy Beijing, Badar uz Zaman previously said that in the next few years, his target is to achieve one million tons of rice. He desires that Pakistan will become the largest player in this market.

This year China imported about 973,000 tons of rice worth $437 million from Pakistan. The seven new Pakistan rice exporters have been added to the approved list which has risen to 53 last year, and China relaxed import restrictions on Pakistani rice which helped rice export to China.

The Commercial Counselor Badar uz Zaman told China Economic Net that Pakistan has become the third-largest exporter of rice to China, added that they are using traditional and especially social media platforms to provide awareness about Pakistani rice in this market.  

"We are also in discussion with the Chinese government for the technology transfer of sea rice because huge saline land along the coastal districts can be used for rice cultivation. The Chinese have been successful in their experiments to use the saline land and we can learn this from China," Badar added.

This year semi or wholly milled rice (Commodity Code 10063020) crossed about $249 millio, increased 85% as compared to last year, which followed by broken rice (Commodity Code 10064020) reached $125 million, up 201% year on year.

Badar further said that the number of Pakistani restaurants isincreasing in China that helped Pakistani Basmati rice improve exports here, and Middle Eastern restaurants like Lebanese and Turkish restaurants also use Basmati rice. Previously there was no presence of Basmati rice because Chinese normally like the other varieties of rice, but now the Chinesebuying power is being increased, and the tendency to use expensive products and special aromatic basmati rice will create a pull from the Chinese market.

Miss Xie working as a manager in a Pakistani restaurant is amazed that more Chinese customers are coming to eat Basmati rice because it's different from Chinese rice and it has a special fragrance. The grains remain separate after cooking.  

Asif Jalil, owner of Little Lahore a famous restaurant in China told CEN that Thai Jasmine rice is very popular here because they created the demand in the Chinese market and now, they are capturing & enjoying the market, he added Pakistan still needs to work hard to grab the whole market because the Chinese market is too big.

"The quantity of Pakistani rice exported to China, at this moment does not represent the demand from the local consumers. It only tells that we let some of the consumers try Pakistani rice. When this export grows over a certain period, then basically, we will be able to see the number of returning consumers to rightly quantify the growth in demand for Pakistani rice," he added.

Pakistani rice exporters expressed that the shipping cost is too high due to COVID-19 and the price of rice in the domestic market goes up while the end-users are still buying on old rates. If they get subsidies or some incentives from the Chinese side, that would help increase much more exports of Pakistani rice to China.

They also said that 1121 Basmati Rice has very high quality in Pakistan but the price of this type of rice is the same as Indian traders are getting in the Chinese market, while quality has a huge difference, adding that the Pakistani government needs much more effort to increase further exports of rice because China is a very big market.

They also mentioned that right now IRRI-6, IRRI-9, semi or wholly milled rice and broken rice are the main varieties of rice that are exported to China while Basmati and other top varieties still need to work hard to capture the Chinese market.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) Fakhar Imam said that last year Pakistan has the best rice production of around 9 million tons, which has helped Pakistan earn $4.75 billion from rice exports, and he expected that 2022 will break all record of rice production and exports.

It is also worth mentioning that the latest color sorter machines (technology) and seeds given by China to Pakistan to facilitate the sowing and improvement of rice grains helped increase rice exports to China and also around the world.  

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