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REAP DEMANDS ‘RELIEF PACKAGE’ FOR RICE EXPORTS
10/26/2017

DAILY BUSINESS RECORDER (26/10/2017)

REAP DEMANDS ‘RELIEF PACKAGE’ FOR RICE EXPORTS

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has urged the federal government to announce a relief package for the rice exports. A delegation of REAP led by Chaudhary Samiullah Naeem held meetings with federal ministers including Commerce Minister Muhammad Pervez Malik, Minister Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan and Minister of Defense Eng Khurram Dastgir to discuss various issues relating rice trade. Rafique Suleman Senior Vice Chairman REAP, Shahzad Ali Malik, Faizan Ali Ghori, Shah Jahan Malik, Mian Muhsin Aziz, Karim Aziz Malik and Pir Nazim Hussain were also a part of the delegation.

Suggestions and proposals for betterment of rice trade were also discussed and ministers assured to resolve all the issues being faced by rice exporters. Commerce Minister announced to form a high level committee for increase in rice exports. The committee will meet monthly basis to review the rice exports situation and draw further strategy for higher rice exports.

Chairman REAP informed the ministers that rice exports, the second largest foreign exchange earned sector, is facing several challenges from the last few years due to lower commodity price in the world market. "Rice should be given status of industry as rice is being exported after value addition through a processing procedure", he demanded.

He said that the government has announced Rs 180 billion relief package for the major several exporting sectors, however rice could not be included in this package. "Rice is also facing some issues, therefore, it should be included in already announced relief package or another package should be announced for rice exporters", he demanded.

Chairman REAP said that Iran is one of the largest rice importing country as it imports are over one million ton rice annually. Despite the lifting of US sanctions, banking channel between Pakistan and Iran has not yet restored, of which Pakistan exporters are unable to directly export to Iran, he added.

"We can earn some 300 to 400 million dollar foreign exchange annually for the country by exporting up to 0.4 million tons to Iran", he said. Senior Vice chairman Rafique Suleman said that Indonesia is also an important market for Pakistani exporters, but unfortunately, rice is not included in the Free Trade Agreement items. He urged commerce minister for dialogs with Indonesia to finalize the formalities for export of rice.

He suggested that like India and Thailand, the rice exporting association-REAP should be declared a competent authority for export of rice to Indonesia. Suleman also proposed subsidy on agricultural inputs such as seed, water, diesel, electricity, besides measurers to enhance the per acre yield. "We demand that Rice Research Institute should work on a mage project to minimize the input cost and increase the yield and quality of Pakistani rice, so that cost of paddy will be reduced and exporters can compete in the world market", he added. He also demanded REAP representation on Export Development Board.

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