The per acre yield of Basmati rice has declined to 32 from 48 maunds per acre during the past five years, while India has developed seeds that produced over 50 maunds per acre. According to sources in the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), Pakistan is not among the top 10 rice producing countries, but still fourth leading rice exporter.
Pakistan annually produces 6.5 million tons of rice, which include 1.5 million tons of highly aromatic, premium quality super basmati and rest 5.0 million tons is long grain rice (PK-386, Irri-6, KS-282, and Hybrid). This makes Pakistan world's 13th largest rice producing nation. As wheat is considered staple food of Pakistan, hence a modest quantity of rice 2.5 million tonnes is locally consumed, therefore sparing 4.0 million tonnes of rice to export, which makes Pakistan 4th largest exporter of rice after India, Vietnam & Thailand and captures a significant segment of almost 15 percent of the global rice trade.
The major segment of our Basmati exports is destined to gulf region countries including UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, KSA and Iran, while the long grain is destined for countries like Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malaysia and China which is a recently developed market.
The potential of total export capacity of rice sector is as high that each grain is exported that left after local consumption. In 2012-2013 Pakistan produced 6 million tons and 3.5 million tons was exported during the year. "Basmati rice itself is a brand image of Pakistan throughout the globe as it is being exported to around 70 destinations inclusive of those where our counsellors/ambassadors are not present. Presence of our Aromatic Basmati, in absence of our embassies, acts as an ambassador of Pakistan and signifies the enriched diverse cultural heritage of Pakistan. Sources said that lack of Research and Development (R&D) is the major reason behind decrease in exports and creates bottleneck for our production.