REAP to strengthen bond with international buyers

LAHORE: The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) is looking to strengthen its ties with international buyers of Pakistani rice in a bid to streamline and promote the export-oriented commodity, REAP Chairman Sameeullah Naeem said on Thursday.

At a press conference, Naeem said Pakistani rice exports are expected to cross the $2-billion mark during the current fiscal year, acknowledging the contribution of global buyers in achieving the landmark.

Pakistan exported rice worth Rs168.244 billion in fiscal year 2017, down from Rs194.2 billion in the previous year.

Pakistan suffers from low exports, putting pressure on its foreign exchange reserves. However, different sectors, including rice growers, are now targeting an increase given the recent fall in the rupee.

REAP is also looking to acknowledge buyers’ and their confidence in Pakistani rice to promote exports.

“Contribution of 30 top international buyers will be acknowledged at an event to be held on February 20, 2018 in Dubai,” said Naeem. “This will witness participation from around 100 international buyers, ambassadors, representatives of different departments of Gulf states, representatives of different government departments including Trade Development Authority (TDAP), federal ministry for food security, provincial agriculture departments and members of REAP.

“We are planning to make it an annual feature which will eventually be turned into a ‘Rice Conference’ providing a platform not only to acknowledge buyers but also to discuss future trends and new technologies in the rice sector,” he added.

He hoped the awards, named ‘International Buyers Recognition Trophy 2018’, will provide a chance to the buyers to interact with Pakistani government departments to provide a sense of authenticity of rice sellers. He said such an award will also promote the country’s soft image besides winning the loyalty and trust of the international buyers.

The REAP chairman said that the total awards would be 30 which would be distributed on the basis of maximum import by any region and import on the basis of quantity. Naeem said that issues related to rice will also be discussed with relevant stakeholders.

“A documentary will also be shown to participants explaining how Pakistan is the original ‘house of Basmati’, our agronomic practices are traditional and close to organic, ratio of using pesticides is low and Pakistani growers comply with sanitary and phyto-sanitary practices thus, producing a healthy product which is safe for human consumption,” Naeem said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2018.

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