Trade Development Authority Pakistan (TDAP) Chief Executive Abid Javed Akbar has announced to develop a comprehensive programme focused on promoting rice exports to Central Asian States (CAS). He said in collaboration with the rice exporters exhibitions will be arranged to showcase Pakistani rice besides arranging few middle size delegations for promotion of rice exports especially Basmati in these states.
Speaking at a reception arranged by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) in his honour the other night, he said Central Asian States are under the influence of Turkish culture and fragrant Pakistani basmati rice is an integral part of Turkish cuisine. He said this would help our rice exporters to make in road in these markets and earn foreign exchange for the country.
He said earning foreign exchange for the country is like worship and rice exporters would not find TDAP lagging behind in providing support in this endeavour. He said that he was happy to note that rice exporters were eyeing to achieve US $4 billion export goal and TDAP would join hands with them and work together to materialise this dream in to reality.
Replying to the points raised by the REAP Vice Chairman Samee Ullah Chaudhry including mandatory membership of the Association for those intending to export rice, he said that he himself was an advocate of strong Associations and think that mandatory membership was very important for exporters to keep the process transparent. He assured to take up the issue at forums concerned to review the demand. He claimed that TDAP was one of those agencies made for solving the problems and not for creating hurdles in the way of exports.
He said that TDAP always sit together with the stakeholders whenever needed so as to ensure there should be no impediment in the way of growth of exports and exporters. TDAP Chief Executive also admitted that REAP which contributes significantly towards Export Development Fund (EDF) has every right to get representation on its board. However, he assured that they should consider him as their representative on this board till the association gets a seat on it. He welcomed the REAP efforts of setting up a Rice Technical Institute to produce technically trained manpower for rice sector and assured all out help in this regard.
He also welcomed the efforts of REAP members to enter in to Chinese rice market and termed China as a window of opportunity. However, he called upon the rice exporters to look in to the reasons of decline in basmati exports and make efforts to enhance it. Earlier REAP Vice Chairman Samee Ullah Chaudhry threw light on the efforts being made by the association for enhancing exports and problems they were facing in this regard. He said that the association would soon be leading a 60 member delegation to China to encash the opportunities exist in that market.
He threw light on the issue of Quality Review Committee (QRC) which had been given under the TDAP and said it was working very well under REAP administration but there were complaints of irregularities since its gone under the authority. He also called for reviving the condition of mandatory membership of the Association who intend to export rice. He said that the association also had an arbitration committee, which works very well in case of any issue. He said last year REAP reimbursed US $50,000 from an exporter to the foreign buyers in a complaint.
Samee said that the association had launched efforts to set up a rice technical training institute to train manpower in post-harvest techniques and value addition. He hoped that the Punjab government would soon give land for this project. He also demanded due share for rice exporters in international exhibitions. Former REAP Chairmen Shahzad Ali Malik, Javed Agha, Malik Jehangir while sitting Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Farooq Iftikhar were also present on this occasion.