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KARACHI: Keeping in view the current challenges related to food safety and rice sector, PARC-SARC is organizing a stakeholder conference cum training workshop on “Food Safety & Quality of Rice: Current Scenarios, Challenges and Prospects for Improvement” in collaboration with Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) Karachi on June 14 & 15, 2022 at MAJU, Karachi.

This event will be conducted through the research project titled “Development of a System, Based on Preventive Approach to Address Food Safety Concerns in the Export of Pakistani Rice being executed by Dr. Saqib Arif, PSO/PI, Dr. Qurratul Ain SSO/Co-PI, fellow scientist and other team members.

The event will be graced by the representatives of R&D organizations, industries, growers, academia, regulatory & trade bodies and some international experts. Tentative program and invitation flyer of this event are enclosed herewith. Food safety is a global issue with public health and international trade implications.

According to organizers, the developed countries have framed policies and regulations to ensure the food safety to the end users. Whereas, the developing nations are in the phase of transformation which is due to the emerging regulatory controls that face challenges of infrastructure, competency, legislation and management to address the issues efficiently. Consequently, the threats to the public health and exports have compounded over time despite the fact that agriculture is the main underpinning pillar of economy of a developing country like Pakistan.

The agro- commodities like rice which is the second most significant export crop in Pakistan also being suffering from excessive levels of contaminants mainly aflatoxins and pesticide residues.

As a result of violation of international standards for maintaining food safety concerns consignments of rice of Pakistan have been confiscated that has also been noticed in current year from EU. Rice is a staple food for almost half of the world’s population. Pakistan is amongst top five rice exporters and brings average 1.9 billion USD foreign exchange by exporting 4 million tons of rice every year. Unfortunately, Pakistan could not increase its share beyond 10% of the total world exports of rice.

However, the country carries a huge potential as it produces both aromatic and non-aromatic rice varieties with sufficient quantities to serve the local as well as international markets. Besides other factors, the difficulties in meeting requirements of international standards for maintaining food safety concerns are one of the major causes of stagnant rice exports. Such challenges and economic losses due to trade rejections are largely affecting the exporters but are considerable for other stakeholders including growers.

Thus, there is a dire need of creating awareness and increasing capacity on such alarming issues amongst stakeholders for minimizing the food safety risks and improvement in rice value chain for supporting public health and exports from the country.

This platform will provide an opportunity to the stakeholders to gain knowledge about current issues related to rice exports and their potential solutions by the project team and also by the national and international experts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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PARC-SARC organising conference titled ‘Food Safety & Quality of Rice’

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