Rice export orders are at risk due to unavailability of natural gas to produce ‘parboiling rice’ which may increase foreign exchange earnings by 15 percent with value addition. Stating this, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) Vice Chairman Chaudhry Samee Ullah urged the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) authorities to ensure continuous and smooth gas supply to rice millers and exporters on priority basis as export sector is the lifeline of our country.
Chaudhry Samee Ullah was leading a high power delegation of the Association which called on SNGPL General Manager Muhammad Pervaiz at his Gujranwala office. He informed the SNGPL GM of the contribution of the rice export sector which contributes around $2.5 billion to national exchequer for past consecutive 4 years.
Samee Ullah demanded the GM SNGPL to formulate a comprehensive curtailment policy in consultation with relative stakeholders sector. “The paddy harvesting season starts in November and we require a consistent gas supply to dry wet Paddy entering the markets. A consistent gas supply in November-December-January would ensure that we save our agriculture grains from damages or fungal attacks that produce Mycotoxins (A Carcinogenic and Genotoxic Disease). Saving the grains from damages is the highest priority during winter and this is unachievable in absence of gas supplies” added Samee Ullah.
He also said that rice sector is one of major fuel providers through ‘Husk Supplies’ in local markets. Unfortunately, the husk is not available in November, December and unless we dry paddy through gas availability, we may ensure better supply of husk in local markets.
GM SNGPL Gujranwala, Muhammad Pervaiz welcomed the delegation and assured Reap of its fullest support to rice exports sector. He informed the delegation that country has faced acute shortage of gas supply during winter season and hoped that the conditions would rationalise as summer approaches. Pervaiz also supported Reap of its due demand that gas supply to rice sector is critical during November, December and January so that Paddy may be dried out timely to save the grains from damage/disease. He recommended Reap to formally present a written request so that the same may be forwarded with Regional Office Recommendation to head office SNGPL for incorporating in coming year load management plan.