Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) said Tuesday that the second largest foreign exchange earner commodity’s export trade is facing severe crisis and needs government’s attention to avert them.
Reap representatives Chaudhry M Shafique, Chairman and Noman Ahmed Shaikh, senior vice chairman Reap, Abdul Rahim Janoo, Chief Patron of Reap and Rafique Suleman Chairman, FPCCI Rice Exports Committee 2016, called for subsidised rice seed, fertilisers, water, electricity/diesel, etc, for the farmers to reduce the cost of production.
They said that rice export trade is fetching US $2.5 billion foreign exchange annually for the country. However, during last two years, rice export trade is facing crisis owing to lower commodity prices in the world market. “We are afraid that this year will also be very challenging for rice export trade, if the government will not take appropriate steps to resolve the rice exporters’ problems,” they added.
They said Reap is planning to organise its 8th Export Trophy Awards in Karachi/Lahore/Islamabad and requested the Prime Minister of Pakistan to spare time to preside over the function. “We are confident that the PM’s presence will boost the morale of rice exporters. We also intend to discuss certain proposals for the betterment of our trade with the PM,” they added.
Moreover, Reap would like to establish a latest ‘Rice Zone’ and a formal request has been sent to the federal government for a suitable piece of land along with the gas & electricity connections on subsidised rates.
“We are also mulling over taking the land of TCP godowns located at Pipri and becoming shabby due to non-utilisation,” they said. The government should allot TCP godowns to Reap on market rates, so that rice export trade could get full benefit of the proposed Rice Zone. This will also help achieve our vision of crossing $4 billion in rice exports during this business-friendly government’s tenure, they maintained.
In order to promote Pakistani rice, Reap is also intending to arrange a “Grand Biryani Festival,” in which all Karachi-based Consul Generals, Deputy High Commissioners, Honorary Consuls, Commercial Counsellors, heads of various government and non-government organisations will be invited. Over 7-8 different dishes of Pakistani rice will be presented to them. “We believe that the Biryani Festival will be instrumental in uplifting the image of Pakistan and Pakistani rice,” he added.
Reap always raised its voice for all stakeholders of rice and particularly for the rice growers. Input cost of rice cultivation is very high as compared to our competitors, as the Indian agriculture industry is heavily subsidised by their government. The government has also been requested to provide rice farmers with subsidised seed, fertilisers, water, electricity/diesel, etc, so that the cost of production could be decreased and rice exporters able to compete in international markets.
The Reap representatives hoped that the government will consider these suggestions on high priority in the larger interest of the country and make Pakistan a real ‘Asian Tiger’.
Source: Business Recorder