KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has proposed financial support for rice mechanise farming to achieve the higher crop output and achieve $5 billion export target.
The proposal was presented by the Chairman REAP Abdul Qayum Paracha in a meeting of National Export Development Board (NEDB). The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by Federal Minister for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Reza Baqir, PM advisor for port and shipping Mehmood Moulvi, and others.
During the meeting Prime Minister endorsed the REAP proposals and assured full support for increase in crop output and rice exports.
Chairman REAP has thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and the NEDB for endorsing the REAP demands. He informed that during the meeting a number of proposals were discussed with the NEDB and proposal of federal government funded farm mechanisation programme exclusively for rice crop was top of it.
He said that Pakistan can increase its rice production with the mechanise farming, however it cost is about Rs10,000 per acre and farmers cannot afford this, therefore, REAP has requested federal government to provide some 50 percent subsidy for mechanise farming, which can increase rice crop 10-15 percent in a year and double in few years.
In addition, during the meeting issue of higher sea freight was also discussed and PNSC was requested to provide exclusive break bulk shipping services for export of rice.
Chairman REAP thanked federal government in acceding to the demands of the structured Farm Mechanisation Programme, which will serve as the foundations for the REAP proposed Visibility and Standardisation in our Rice Value Chain, helping attract major investments in the rice sector for realizing $5 billion per annum exports.
He mentioned that this programme will also help to achieve global best averages on each and every step in rice value chain including farm inputs, seed purity, water utilisation optimising on yields, farmer access to formal credit, required harvesting drying storages and modern husking and processing mills.
This REAP mechanisation programme will help to bring visibility and standardisation to Pakistani Rice Value Chain. "It will attract Multinational Agricultural Firms plan and execute long term investments in Pakistan where the potential runs into billions of dollars and will bring confidence in REAP members to invest in the backward integration on long term basis," he added.
Paracha said that the approval of REAP suggestions will open a new era in rice sector for future generation of the country.
He also thanked Ministry of Commerce for organising Awareness Seminar for farmers on MRL level of pesticides residue and extending their support for mapping of crop and zoning of rice growing areas with the help of provincial agricultural departments.
"We see rice exports in next 5 years at a global level competing with the best in the world and revival of our Basmati Heritage will now be a realistic dream," he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021
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