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LAHORE: A three-member delegation from Senasica Mexico has arrived in Pakistan on a five-day visit to inspect the rice processing units and other related facilities in a move to allow exports of rice to Mexico, which have been banned since 2014.

The delegation, hopefully, will inspect 28 mills in Punjab and Sindh to carry out a technical audit and verification that these facilities are compliant with Mexican standards and a programme devised by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Pakistan.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) acting chairman Haseeb Ali Khan speaking at a reception in honour of the delegation said Pakistani rice companies were already exporting rice to most destinations in the world especially in the EU and USA smoothly.

“We are producing rice ready for Supermarket shelves in retailers around the world. Pakistani Basmati has no problems with heavy metals/Pesticides. It is a much healthier product. Pakistani companies are exporting to over 100 countries, certified by HACCP, ISO and BRC. We are working to the highest international standards and have qualified staff that can maintain the high standards,” he assured.

He further said that REAP members had invested more than $100m over the last 5 years to upgrade their infrastructure by adopting the latest technologies and modernizing their rice plants. This includes the latest milling standards, packing lines, steaming and on-parboiling plants.

Haseeb regretted that the export of Rice to the United Mexican States drastically down due to the Ban in 2012, though Mexico had huge potential for rice imports. He called for supporting Pakistani exporters to get the maximum share of rice exports in the Mexican market from Pakistan as it had sufficient surplus stocks of high-quality Basmati and long-grain rice.

Group chairman Shahzad Ali Malik hoped that the trip by the Mexican delegation would be useful both for Pakistan and Mexico. He assured that the mills in Pakistan would meet the requirements and standards set by Mexico.

Senasica delegation head Miss Lara speaking on this occasion said their visit was a reflection of headway made with regard to the possibilities of exporting Pakistani rice to Mexico. However, she said that their country was having some issues while importing rice and that was not confined to Pakistan only but also to some other countries too. She said that climate change was impacting crops negatively thus rice exporters have to be very cautious with their consignments. She said that it should be ensured that their productions should not have any pests, insects or other pollutants.

She called upon the exporters to be compliant with the law enacted by Mexico regarding the import of agricultural commodities.

Director General DPP Pakistan AD Abid speaking on this occasion assured the Mexican side that no consignment would be allowed to be shipped to their country unless it was compliant with Mexican laws and standards.

Other Mexican delegation members were Rafael, Sergio while former REAP Chairman Samee Ullah Naeem, Peer Nazim Hussain Shah, Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, REAP General Secretary Kashif ur Rehman, Abubakar Farooq Mirza and others were also present on this occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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