KARACHI: The government must focus on rice export markets of China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bahrain as that will ultimately support all stakeholders, particularly rice growers, said Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Rafique Suleman.
“Depressed prices in international rice markets are affecting the agriculture sector of all rice-exporting countries in the world; Pakistan is not an exception,” he said in a statement.
He said Bahrain is a potential market for Pakistani rice and REAP urges the government to improve economic relations with the country to enhance bilateral trade.
He said that there are approximately 100,000 Pakistanis living in Bahrain and REAP welcomed the recent announcement of the government of Bahrain to award dual nationality to some of them.
“Bilateral trade between the two countries currently stands at $200 million, and there is still immense scope for expansion,” he said.
Pakistan exported 27,805 tons of rice to Bahrain in fiscal year ending on June 30, 2014, worth $2.6 million.
REAP chairman noted that China has made several government-to-government deals with neighbouring countries like Thailand and Cambodia, which in effect, may hurt Pakistani rice exports to China.
“Since the total rice import quota of China is limited, the market share of Pakistani rice in China will eventually decline with these agreements,’ he remarked.
“We request the government to take similar steps like China has taken up with Thailand and Cambodia in order to stabilise the rice trade between China and Pakistan. We hope we could export additional 200,000 tons good quality Pakistani rice every year, starting from year 2015,” he said.
Pakistan exported 353,673 tons of rice to China in fiscal year 2014, worth $128 million.
He also highlighted that the trade balance between Pakistan and Malaysia was in favour of Malaysia because of the huge quantity of palm oil that Pakistan imports..
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2015.
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