In the world, experts recorded that rice is the most significant human food crop, directly feeding more people than any other crop. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the total rice production globally stood nearly 755 million metric tonnes in 2018. According to the international sources, the global hybrid rice seeds market size is estimated to reach USD 5.43 billion by 2027 owing to the rising concerns regarding food security worldwide.
The global market value was USD 2.06 billion in 2019 and is expected to register a CAGR of 13.32 percent from 2020 to 2027. Sources also recorded that Asia Pacific led the worldwide market in 2019 with a market value of USD 1.84 billion. The High production of hybrid rice seeds in states counting China, India, Vietnam, and Thailand is predicted to propel the demand in the region. Furthermore, the market in the Middle East & Africa is estimated to showcase robust growth during the forecast period. The primary factor expected to drive the demand in the region is the introduction of the modern technologies for the development and processing of hybrid rice seeds.
No doubt, rice is 3rd most significant crop of Pakistan, which covers an area of 2.89 million hectares, with milled rice production of 7.44 million tons. This crop is unique because it can grow in wet environments that other crops cannot survive in. It is said that such wet environments are abundant across Asia mainly in Pakistan. The domestication of rice ranks as one of the most significant developments in history and now thousands of rice varieties are cultivated on every continent except Antarctica. Despite having more glaciers than anywhere else in the world and its location in the Indus River Basin, Pakistan unluckily continues to experience acute water scarcity, mainly driven through drought and intensive agriculture.
The country has an extensive agriculture sector, which uses flood procedures of irrigation to grow water-intensive crops. In Pakistan, water infrastructure is outdated and in poor situation, which wastes even more water, while little is stored due to a lack of reservoirs and sediment build-up in existing facilities. It is also said that the latest mechanical harvesting of basmati rice varieties at the premature stage is common, leading to increased post-harvest losses and infestation of microbial organisms in the paddy because of storage facilities and inappropriate drying.
According to the economic survey of Pakistan FY2021, the crop is also a significant in cash crop and the second major staple food crop as rice contributes 3.5 percent of value added in agriculture and 0.7 percent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Rice production comprises of basmati (fine) and coarse types. During the last few years, production of coarse types is growing. Statistics showed that during FY2020-21, the crop was cultivated on 3,335 thousand hectares, reflecting a rise 9.9 percent as against to last year’s sown area of 3,034 thousand hectares. During the year witnessed a record production growth of 13.6 percent to 8.419 million tonnes against 7.414 million tonnes previous year. This was fundamentally because of rising unit prices and higher demand for Pakistan’s rice in export markets.
Experts believed that rice exports are predicted to increase up to $3 billion in 2021, because of effective agricultural strategies of the Government of Pakistan. No doubt, varieties of basmati were quite popular and the government was paying attention to hybrid varieties with an aim to earn maximum amount of foreign exchange. Presently, long grain variety had been prepared which would be made available to farmers shortly. Sources record that the country would attain bumper production which would not only improve income of farmers but also help strengthen Pakistan’s economy.
Farmers are offered a subsidy on recommended varieties of seeds and machinery related to rice farming. It has been trained thousands of farmers on sustainable rice production and also offered them the facility of land laser leveling on 50 percent cost sharing basis.
The Government of Pakistan has to develop an action plan and implement it in true spirit so that the farmers could produce the rice with minimum use of water without any yield or quality penalty. The present government of Pakistan is highly dedicated to improvise the agriculture sector of the country. For this purpose a lot of subsidy schemes have been launched and theses schemes are profiting the farmers. There is a need to revise the schemes so that the small landholder farmers could also benefit from these schemes.
Sources also recorded that Pakistan and China are enhancing agriculture cooperation under the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In April 2020, statistics showed that almost 500 tonnes of hybrid rice seeds were brought from Jiangsu, China to enhance rice yield in Pakistan. The Universities of Punjab and Wuhan are jointly developing high-yield hybrid rice varieties with the modern technologies. Since 2019, they are cooperating to develop Honglian hybrid rice in Pakistan, whose cultivation globally has exceeded over 30 million hectares. With a growing population, the government of Pakistan needs to develop high-yield hybrid crops with Chinese cooperation.