On the flip side, the substantial upswing in wheat production and favorable changes in cotton yields diminishes the need for imports, significantly lowering the demand for foreign exchange in the fiscal year 2023-24.

The agricultural sector is poised to play a pivotal role in reinvigorating economic growth, targeting the 3.5% mark in FY24.

The increase in rice exports is attributed to the exploration of new export markets like Russia and Mexico, with exports to Indonesia already exhibiting an upward trajectory.

The restriction imposed by India on rice exports to stabilize domestic prices opens doors for Pakistan to escalate shipments to international markets.

Pakistan has witnessed a positive shift in rice production, estimated at 9 million tons in FY24, compared to a meager harvest of 5.5 million tons in the previous fiscal year, when extensive floods damaged agricultural land.

The USDA’s recent report titled “Grain and Feed Update” for Pakistan indicates a forecast of 4.8 million tons for rice exports, matching the record set in 2021-22, when production reached a peak of 9.3 million tons.

The 4.8-million-ton export projection slightly trails the global agriculture information department’s forecast of 5 million tons. The rice export estimate is revised down to 3.4 million tons for the marketing year 2022-23 (Nov-Oct), compared to the previous forecast of 3.7 million tons.

Official statistics reveal that rice exports amounted to $2.14 billion in FY23, a decline from $2.51 billion in FY22, indicating a drop of $364 million. In terms of quantity, rice exports decreased by 25% during FY23, totaling 3.717 million tons compared to 4.97 million tons in the preceding year.