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Pakistani Basmati rice disappearing from shelves
Dubai: Consumers in the UAE may face a shortage of quality Basmati rice as some major Pakistani rice exporters are considering reducing exports or completely withdrawing from this market, said officials.

"We have been incurring heavy losses for the last three months since the UAE Ministry of Economy capped prices of rice being imported from Pakistan," said Zahid W. Khawaja, President of the Consortium of Basmati Rice Exporters of Pakistan.

He told Gulf News that the price of Pakistani rice was fixed at Dh115 for a bag of 39 kg and exporters wanted to increase price to Dh135 per bag due to the shortage of rice in Pakistan, which has recorded almost 100 per cent price increases in the local market since Jan.

Chaudhry Mohammad Eslam, managing director of Shaza General Trading, said that most of the importers of rice from Pakistan to UAE, have started re-exporting rice to other countries because they cannot incur further loss in the UAE market. "This will definitely lead to massive Basmati rice shortage in the country," he warned.

Gull Memon, Chairman of Mehran Group of Industries, which distributes their own brand called Mehran Rice in the UAE and worldwide said: "Our brand is already off the shelves in the UAE because the pricing issue." He said his company contributed 150 to 200 tons of rice every month to the local market but now it has been off the shelves for the last two months.

Bilal Pasha, Commercial Counsellor in the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai, who along with leading rice exporters is negotiating with the authorities concerned in the UAE, called the price cap discriminatory.

"Rice from a neighbouring country is being sold at a very high price while the price of the Pakistani basmati rice has been fixed at a much lower rate," he told Gulf News.

Worry

He feared a deterioration in the quality of Basmati rice as traders may resort to adulteration to reduce their costs.

Khawaja said 90 per cent of the Basmati rice in the UAE comes from Pakistan. He said there has been a huge price rise in Pakistan in the last few months due to a 15 per cent shortage and an increase in local consumption. Pakistan's rice exports to the UAE stood at $240 million last year.

Super Basmati rice, Pakistan's largest rice exporter, has already cut its exports to the UAE from 200 containers per month to 100.
MGR Archive 10.6.2007
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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