Rice worth $400m exported to China in 2021

BEIJING (PEN) : 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).

Commercial Counselor of the Pakistan Embassy Beijing, Badar uz Zaman previously said that in the next few years, his target would be to achieve one million tons of rice. He desired that Pakistan would 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.

Badar uz Zaman told China Economic Net that Pakistan had become the third-largest exporter of rice to China, added that they were 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 million, 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 was increasing 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 Chinese buying 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 was very popular here because they created the demand in the Chinese market and now, they were capturing & enjoying the market, he added Pakistan still needed to work hard to grab the whole market because the Chinese market was 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 was too high due to COVID-19 and the price of rice in the domestic market went up while the end-users were 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 had very high quality in Pakistan but the price of this type of rice was the same as Indian traders were getting in the Chinese market, while quality had a huge difference, adding that the Pakistani government needed much more effort to increase further exports of rice because China was a very big market.

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

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