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KARACHI: On the request of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), the Export Development Fund (EDF) Board has approved some Rs27 million for Biryani Festivals at five international destinations for the promotion of Pakistani rice.

Reap is making serious efforts to boost the country’s rice export and intends to achieve a $5 billion export target in the next few years. Rice is one of the largest exporting commodity and cumulatively, some 3.2 million tons worth $2 billion rice were exported during the last fiscal year.

As per Reap proposal, these Biryani Festivals will be organized in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Baghdad (Iraq), Tehran (Iran) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) for the promotion and marketing of Pakistani rice. In these festivals, Reap would present Pakistani rice as a brand to enhance the exports and earn more foreign exchange for the country.

While talking to Business Recorder, Muhammad Anwar Mianoor, acting Chairman Reap said these five countries are already importing Pakistani rice, but there is huge potential to increase exports. Pakistan has exported some 0.2 million tons of rice to Malaysia and is willing to achieve 0.5 million tons target. Iraq’s rice market is over one million tons and Iran is also a potential market with 1.5 million tons demand, he mentioned.

He said the Export Development Fund (EDF) Board in its 22nd Finance Committee Meeting has principally approved Reap’s proposal for organizing Biryani Festivals in the five international destinations to further explore the rice export markets.

“We are planning to conduct Road Shows and aggressive social media marketing. We will engage food bloggers and social media influencers for the promotion of Pakistani rice,” acting Chairman Reap said.

He said that these Biryani Festivals will be arranged in the hotels, restaurants and hypermarkets of the potential rice buying countries.

Accordingly to manage funds for these festivals, Reap requested Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) for support Reap’s proposal through the EDF, so that the rice exporters’ representative body will be able to increase rice exports from Pakistan and increase overall market share in the different countries, he added.

He informed that Mincom and TDAP have not only appreciated the Reap’s Biryani Festival proposal but also assured full support to make these events successful. Accordingly, the EDF Board has approved Reap’s proposals and sanctioned EDF funds of Rs.27 million for Biryani Festivals at five proposed destinations.

Anwar Mianoor said that Pakistani rice is one of the best rice in the world due to its length and quality. There is a need to make some serious efforts for the promotion of Pakistani rice. Pakistan has a bumper rice crop this year and has sufficient stocks for exports. The growth in rice exports and its earnings will also help the government to reduce pressure on external accounts.

He has thanked Abdul Razzak Dawood, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Sualeh Farooqi Federal Secretary Commerce and all members of EDF Board for their consistent support for approval of these proposals and efforts for the betterment of rice export trade of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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