LAHORE: Rice exports have consistently remained perched at high levels and crossed the mark of $2 billion for the fourth consecutive year, which comes without any state support in the form of subsidies, boasted the rice exporters association.
The association praised the government for not interfering unnecessarily in rice export affairs and for allowing a free market environment. At the same time, the body congratulated its members for achieving the feat despite all odds and for negating the unelected trade leaders who had predicted the opposite.
“All members of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) pay taxes and don’t get any subsidies on export,” said REAP Chairman Javaid Islam Agha in a press release on Wednesday.
The association was against subsidies, which wasted state funds and promoted corruption, he said, adding they also did not support manipulative artificial intervention, which distorts the free market.
Highlighting the factors which kept exports at high levels, the association chairman pointed to the Quality Rice Centre (QRC), established by REAP as a public-private partnership. “QRC remained a quality watchdog in rice exports and played a crucial role,” he said.
Underlining problems, Agha said exporters faced a debilitating energy crisis compounded by a discouraging law and order situation.
In the international market, India is marketing huge surplus stocks, supported by a massive 20% depreciation of the Indian rupee. Vietnam and Myanmar have also presented stiff competitive challenges.
Besides these, basmati rice exports to Iran have dropped sharply in the face of US and UN sanctions on Tehran.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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