Basmati rice sector needs full timely support to regain lost markets

Karachi, July 24, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has felicitated the top ten trophy winners of the basmati and non basmati rice exports of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) 8th trophy awards and commended their efforts under tough global challenges.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the rice exporters have managed to survive under difficult circumstances. The government needs to realize that rice is the second largest after textiles and deserves support to overcome the global down slide in commodities markets. This is the best time for support as the new crop is on the threshold. The white and parboiled rice sector both need the support to get back on their feet. Our basmati rice market must be regained and we cannot afford to lose it he reiterated.

He urged the government to give the 0 rating for the rice sector in letter and spirit to relieve it of the burden of multiple taxes on the entire supply chain from the farm to the markets. The farm inputs have become very costly and the promised relief though insufficient has not yet become available. The notifications for 0 rating need clarity and must be implemented.

The Geographical Indication (GI) of basmati rice needs to be approved by the Intellectual Property Organization and simultaneously the basmati trade mark also needs to be registered by the Registrar of Trade Marks in favour of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to enable all stakeholders to use it as a national property ownership.

There is urgent need for research in seeds to develops other varieties and especially the super basmati seed. It is very important to improve the entire supply chain from the farm to the markets and all the sectors from the primary to the tertiary sectors need to be upgraded.

The rice exporters are facing other issues for exports to third world countries as the commercial banks are not inclined to discount documents and bills drawn on buyers or their banks since mostly the banks are of low rating. Other countries have state owned export credit guarantee insurance companies which work on low premiums to facilitate and promote exports to third world countries and Pakistan also needs low premium insurance facility to enter new markets.

Iran is a big buyer of our super basmati rice and REAP and TDAP must without loss of time approach the ministry of finance to put in place a system of negotiation of documents and discounting of bills drawn on Iranian buyers and banks. The commercial banks have not yet put in place a working system and nominated their correspondents in Iran.

For more information, contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street,
Phase IV, D.H.A., Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-35884225-6
Fax: +92-21-35380642
Cell: +92-300-8245307, +92-321-8245307