Rice yield up by 28%

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The overall produce of rice has been estimated to reach 6.16 million tons during the current year, showing an increase of 28 percent over that of last year, official sources told APP.
“Following the remarkable increase in the yield, the rice export is expected to grow considerably during the current fiscal (2012-13),” said sources in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. They opined that it was due to prudent and pro-farmer policies of the government that rice export from Pakistan remained over US $ 2 billion for the last four years consecutively.
Giving break-up, the sources said that the rice export fetched US $ 1.836 billion 2007-08, $ 1.983 billion in 2008-09, $2.160 billion in 2009-10, $.2.160 billion in 2010-11 and $ 2.061 billion in in 2011-12.
The sources said that in the year 2009-10 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.88 million hectares with produce of 6.88 million tons, in 200-11 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.37 million hectare with produce of 4.82 million tons and similarly in 2011-12 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.57 hectares with 6.16 million tons produce.
They said that the rice was a major cash and important food crop of the country after wheat and its produce comprised 40% basmati (fine) and 60 percent coarse types. The government, they added during 2008-09 and 2009-10 intervened in order to support farmers as the rice price hit the rock bottom due to bumper crop and plummeting international price.
Highlighting the major issues, the sources said that in view of good returns of the rice crop, there is a spread of basmati varieties in non-basmati zone.
“It may affect basmati rice exports in the long run as the basmati produced in non-basmati zone lacks aroma”, they observed. The sources added that due to higher yield of hybrid rice, farmers are also shifting the Irri-6 to hybrid rice and the hybrid rice quality is low compared to Irri types. They further said that rice crop is low in productivity and production is affected by water shortage and there are enormous post harvest losses and issue of Afflatoxin which affect crop value and quality especially in case of rice export. They stressed the need for more investments in general research and development in rice for further increasing its production.
The sources said that Pakistani basmati rice was one of the top rice commodities all over the world, but the exports of this rich rice commodity witnessed sharp decline of 14.87 percent during the last fiscal year 2011-12 as compared to the previous year.