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LAHORE: Rice exporters must go for value addition instead of exporting just rice if they want to materialize the US$ 5 billion goal. It is unfortunate that we export just rice which is used by the importing countries to make different products such as rice crackers, biscuits noodles, etc.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) newly-elected Chairman Chela Ram stated this while addressing 24th Annual General Meeting of the association where he and his team took reins from the outgoing body for the year 2022-23.

He said he has some targets in mind to achieve the magical figure of exporting US$ 5 billion rice mark including convincing his peers to go for value addition and export value-added rice products besides rice. He sought cooperation of the newly-elected management committee members and vowed to make this target come true during his tenure.

His other targets include taking delegations abroad to search for new markets and holding two seminars in Pakistan - one each in Punjab and Sindh to introduce products to foreign buyers as well as looking for ways and means to develop the trade further both domestically and internationally.

Chela Ram brushed away the impression that recent floods had hit the rice crop badly instead, he said, Basmati in Punjab has not affected at all while in Sindh it was damaged only 15-20 per cent. Even this damage will be mitigated as it is sown over larger area than last year and we will be having a bumper crop, he added.

He said there is no need to impose any tax or Minimum Export Price (MEP) as it may discourage the trade. He also vowed to work for getting industry status for the rice sector and having share from the export development fund to fuel the rice research projects.

Newly-elected Senior Vice Chairman Haseeb Ahmad Khan thanking the elders for reposing confidence in him hoped that flourishing rice exports will touch the US$ 3 billion mark during the current fiscal. He also shared his plans to resolve the issues being faced by the exporters due to department of plant protection who, he alleged, hinder smooth working of mills instead of working in field.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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