Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Vice Chairman, Chaudhry Sameeullah has refuted the allegations of Basmati Growers Association (BGA) that DTRE scheme would cause stress on Paddy prices. ‘The fact of the matter is that our rice industry has grown over 500 per cent in last 3-years while the crop size has remained stagnant at 6 million tons.
Our members have managed to build the capacity to process 9 million tons of rice, which is 3 million tons more than the available crop in Pakistan. Due to availability of fewer Paddy, our millers are striving for grains; the milling capacity is under-utilised and hence causing losses to our community. We need to increase our crop volume or to provide our members access to higher volumes of Paddy/Rice through imports,’ Samee said in a statement issued on Monday.
He claimed that REAP, is already in touch with many farmers/growers association all across Punjab and Sindh and they have agreed to our proposals of DTRE. Though, we have already planned to write to ministry of commerce that such DTRE scheme should remain suspended during the Paddy harvesting season so that our rice millers/exporters support farmers through local paddy buying during the seasonal days.
“BGA is not the sole representative association of Basmati growers as lots of our REAP members are growers themselves and are not part of BGA. Unfortunately, BGA isn’t a registered organisation nor their office bearers are elected through electoral process rather BGA discourage growers to be part of association so that its monopoly of president-ship may prolong,” alleged Chaudhry Samee.
He was of the view that the farmers would be safeguarded by imposing suspension of DTRE from October till December (paddy harvesting period) each year. However, he said that he was sure the BGA lobbyists were not growers rather an investor Mafia backing them up for vested interests and non-genuine profitability.
They hoard the rice stocks hence creating artificial scarcity of commodity for their undue profitability resulting in Food Inflation & BGA platform is exploited. REAP also suggested that BGA should work for the betterment of farmers who remained deprived over the years. There is no R&D in seed, the production yields are extremely lower, farmers have no access to fresh and pure seed, the fuel and fertilisers costs are higher, what is BGA doing regarding the issues? He questioned and added that BGA must organise workshops to literate farmers of good agricultural practices in growing and harvesting.
The absence of good agricultural practices have resulted in immature kernels due to early harvesting, Mycotoxins due to high moisture paddy and adulteration and non-availability of pure seed & BGA is not concerned regarding these issues. The only hot topic in BGA releases are the prices which is mala fide interest of the investor lobby only, Samee claimed.
REAP advised that every organisation must act within its defined scope to resolve the issues associated with its products rather peeping through other boundaries. ‘We, at REAP, are concerned about our issues of quality controls, marketing, branding etc. and we like to be focused to gather the best potential possible in exports, which is beneficial for our rice trade and industry, he concluded.