Pakistan’s food exports witnessed a remarkable growth of 18.88 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023-24, reaching $1.28 billion, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The surge in food exports can be attributed to the unprecedented depreciation of the rupee, supply chain disruptions, and higher international prices, resulting in heightened demand for food products.
In September, the country experienced an annual food inflation rate exceeding 34 percent, further underlining the increased global demand for food products. Key highlights from the data include:
Rice Exports: Pakistan’s rice exports, particularly basmati rice, grew by 0.98 percent in the first three months of FY24, with a substantial increase in basmati rice exports by 20.48 percent to $406.38 million. The rise in basmati rice exports is attributed to India’s prohibition of rice exports and increased rice production in Pakistan.
Seafood Exports: Fish and fish product exports reached $83.06 million, marking a 3.75 percent growth from the previous year. This increase is driven by expanded varieties in the fishery sector, such as cuttlefish, and eased restrictions on Pakistani seafood imports by Qatar.
Meat Exports: Meat exports surged by 20.05 percent, totaling $112.98 million in the first quarter. The growth is attributed to new markets, including Jordan, Egypt, and Uzbekistan, and the entry of several enterprises registering to export meat to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf nations.
Fruit Exports: The export of fruits recorded a growth of 12.43 percent, reaching $88.66 million in the first three months.
Vegetable Exports: On the other hand, vegetable exports experienced a decline of 30.35 percent, totaling $51.41 million during the same period.
Spices and Oil Seeds Exports: Spices exports increased by 23.51 percent to $23.75 million, while the export of oil seeds, nuts, and kernels recorded a significant surge of 405.85 percent to $185.99 million in the first quarter.
Sugar Exports: Sugar exports, standing at 33,102 metric tons, marked a significant turnaround from no exports during the same period last year.
The above figures underscore Pakistan’s growing presence in international food markets, driven by various factors, including currency dynamics, export restrictions in competitor countries, and expansion into new markets.