TANZANIA – Tanzania’s has recorded a 20% increase in rice imports from Pakistan valued at US$29.6 million between July and December 2017, based on a report by Smart Money.

Tanzania tops the list of importers from Pakistan, the world’s fourth largest producer of rice exporting long grain white rice, parboiled rice, broken rice, irri6 rice, basmati rice and super basmati rice.

Tanzania imported rice amounting to US$24.6 million from Pakistan in the first half of 2016/2017.

Pakistan targets to export four-million-tonne rice annually to fetch US$2 billion in foreign exchange mainly driven by Chinese cooperation with the government and private sector in the field.

“During this fiscal year, Pakistan has managed to export more rice to traditional markets like Afghanistan, Kenya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Tanzania, Britain and the United States,” said a report by senior officials from Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP).

Despite the fact that Tanzania is a major rice producer and exporter, it ranks number eight on the list of importers of the rice during the period and the third top African market after Kenya, which is ranked second and Madagascar in the fourth position.

In a recent report by the East Africa Cross-border Trade (EACT), Tanzania expects to export 144,000 tonnes of locally produced rice to Kenya and Rwanda.

While Madagascar spend US$51.7 million, Kenya spend as high as US$98.6 million to buy rice from Pakistan, with Benin and Somalia also projected on the list of top importers from Africa.

On the international map, the United Arab Emirates imported rice the most, worth US$98.6 million while China was number three with US$53 million, according to the REAP report.

China has seen slower pace of shipments due to issues relating to tariffs and other trade policies, prompting the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) policy makers to seek tariff concessions in order to revive exports into the country.

PBC projected that Pakistan could export an additional US$3.3 billion worth of goods to China if the country manages to get tariffs reduced to zero on certain goods under a free trade agreement (FTA).

According to EACT, Tanzania trade volume will be boosted by supplies from last August harvest and high carry-over stocks, which are likely to lower prices.

With the growing demand for rice especially in urban areas, Tanzania is the major producer and supplier of rice in the region, while Kenya and Uganda are minor producers.

In 2016/2017, Tanzania produced nearly 1.6 million tonnes of rice, lower volume compared to about 2.22 million in the previous financial year.

Tanzania’s Agriculture Seed Agency (ASA) predicted that the country is set to overtake Madagascar to become the leading grower of rice in Africa, having produced over one million tonnes of rice per annum, coming second to Madagascar’s yearly output of 4.3 tonnes