August 15, 2016
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday expressed concern over falling rice exports terming it damaging for the economy.
Rice exports have witnessed a fall of 8.60 percent during financial year of 2016 by fetching 2.035 billion dollars which should be a matter of concern for the stakeholders and Govt. should intervene immediately by forming a separate Rice Export Company from private sector to handle all rice related issue, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain expressed worries over the future of the country’s rice exports as some major markets have been lost while some others are under threat.
Pakistan has missed annual rice export targets for five years necessitating government intervention before it is too late as 3,861,406 metric tonnes of rice was exported in 2016 as compare to the corresponding period in which 4,262,216 metric tonnes of rice was exported, he said.
He noted that the highest shipments recorded took place in 2009-10 when earnings from rice exports stood at $2.2bn. Since then, the exports have remained almost stagnant and now it is going down.
Government must come forward to save the second highest foreign exchange earning sector and provide incentives to growers many of who are switching to other crops while enable exporters to regain their competitiveness in the international market, he demanded.
He said that all the major stakeholders including rice growers, traders, millers and exporters have suffered because of the low demand of Pakistani rice in the international market therefore all should be facilitated through, a Rice Export Company.
Rice farmers deserve all the facilities rival nations are offering to their farmers including affordable seeds, pesticides, electricity, water and dryers while they should be given direct subsidy as indirect subsidies are less effective.
Our competitors were able to raise their exports by benefitting from market-oriented or demand-driven research, said Mian Zahid Hussain.