First Virtual REAP Rice Expo 2021 to be held on 16th

  • KARACHI: First Virtual REAP (Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan) Rice Expo 2021 will be held on 16th June 2021 for the promotion of Pakistani rice. The first meeting of Rice Standing Committee of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) was held on Wednesday at Federation House Karachi and the meeting was chaired by Convener Rafique Suleman to discuss the issues related to rice trade. On the occasion, Hanif Lakhani, Vice President FPCCI, Deputy Convener Rice Committee, Faisal Anis Majeed, Abdul Rahim Janoo, ex-senior vice president FPCCI and others were also present. On this occasion, a curtain-raiser ceremony of the First Virtual REAP Rice Expo 2021 was done by President FPCCI Mian Naseer Hayat Magoo along with Abdul Rahim Janoo, Hanif Lakhany, Rafique Suleman and Abdul Qayum Paracha Chairman REAP. REAP has taken initiative to host the First Virtual REAP Rice Expo 2021, on Wednesday, 16th June 2021. It will be rice industry’s largest virtual event, featuring a programme jam-packed with inspirational keynote speakers, unparalleled networking opportunities, Exhibitors Virtual Booths and market outlook panels on special topics relevant to the Pakistani and International Rice Industry. Rafique Suleman, convener FPCCI standing committee said that main purpose of this event is to promote and project Pakistani Rice across the globe. In this mission Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, All Commercial Counsellors and Trade Attaché are working day and night to spread the message across the globe for more participation from International Buyer’s side, he added. During the meeting very important issues related to rice traders were discussed to promote rice export and protect $2 billion rice export industry. “The most important issue is protection of basmati rice as it is heritage of Pakistan and we should promote Basmati rice of Pakistan across the globe”, Suleman said. Convener of REAP’s Virtual Rice Expo 2021 will be Faisal Anis Majeed. On the occasion Deputy Convener Farhat Rasheed, Kazim Khandwala, Raza Amjad along with Nauman Arif and Sufyan Rahim also appreciated for their hard work in promoting Pakistani rice by creating this virtual platform possible.
  • Larkana’s rice history and woes

  • Thousands converge in Larkana on 27th of December every year to pay homage to their leaders from the Bhutto dynasty. Two former prime ministers, including the Muslim world’s first female prime minister, lie buried there in a beautifully built mausoleum. The late Z A Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto are from this district. Many bureaucrats that serve in different positions also find their roots in Larkana. Besides Bhuttos, Larkana is home of Kalhoros, Chandios, Khuhros, Bughios, Magsis, Unnars and Rashdis who all come from the landowning class. Many among them are tribal chieftains, for upper Sindh’s districts are also known for tribal culture and jirgas which settle disputes and bloody feuds privately between parties. These are, however, families who also matter in Sindh’s politics. Sheikhs — an important community of Larkana — are business-oriented and dominate the area’s urban landscape. Chandka pargana is said to be Larkana’s old name in the Mughal period. It remained a centre of trade in the Kalhoro regime and was once considered the Eden of Sindh because of its famous orchards and greenery. Britishers focused on the area’s development, building the Sukkur barrage around 1932 and creating three major canals on the barrage’s right side to feed Larkana and other areas from the mighty Indus.
    With 450 out of Sindh’s 630 mills located in the district, the urban areas are a hub of rice production
    Larkana got status of divisional headquarters in the late 80s but it was divided in 2004 and Kambar Shahdadkot was carved out as an independent district. Sukkur’s barrage’s Rice, Dadu and Kirthar (North Western) canals feed Larkana and other districts with the last one feeding Balochistan as well. Initially, better water flows from the canals lead to prosperity in the area but soon faced silting from River Indus. As evident from its name — Rice canal — is a large irrigation channel that feeds rice-growing areas of Larkana in Kharif period. Dadu and NWC also irrigate areas of Larkana and its neighbouring district. These canals are about to become part of the feasibility studies of the $480 million, World bank-funded Sindh Agriculture and Water Transformation (SWAT) project. The Larkhana division is a hub of rice production with a large number of mills. The division is known for rice cultivation and production. It is grown in Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kambar-Shahdadkot and Shikarpur districts falling in the division. Sindh’s share in Pakistan’s rice production is estimated to be 28.6 per cent in terms of area and 38.6pc in production in 2017-18, according to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. In Sindh, around 38pc of the area remains under cultivation of the coarse variety or IRRI-6. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) says Pakistan is the world’s 11th largest rice producer, accounting for 8pc of the global rice trade. This is why REAP chairman Qayyum Piracha underscores the need for introducing mechanised farming to achieve the required growth potential in exports. Sindh agriculture officials say area under rice cultivation in Sindh was reported at 516,900ha (five years’ average of 2000-01 to 2004-05) which reached to 828,292ha in 2017-18, showing 60.24pc increase. Production-wise, Sindh had 1,414,700 tonnes of clean rice previously (five years’ average of 2000-01 to 2004-05), which increased to 2,850,524 tonnes in 2017-18, indicating a 101.5pc increase in production. Yield per ha in Sindh was 2,737 kg (five years’ average of 2000-01 to 2004-05) which reached to 3,441kgs in 2017-18, and 3,493kgs per ha (five years’ average i.e. 2013-14 to 2017-18). It shows an increase of 27.62pc in per ha crop. In 2018-19, per ha yield was achieved at 3,725 kg — highest in the last two decade. Sindh got the highest yield per acre of rice at a national level. Average yield per ha of crop nationally was 2,339kgs (5 years’ average of 2010-11 to 2014-15), correspondingly, it was 3,495kgs in Sindh in the same period thus recording an increase of 49.4pc in yield per ha over national yield. During 2019-20 season, Sindh surpassed the acreage target of 770,000ha by achieving 775,862ha acreage. The unusual increase in area, production and yield is because growers use imported hybrid variety instead of Sindh’s indigenous varieties like subdasi, shandar, KS282, DR etc. This variety gives higher yields and can be used as a late-sowing variety as well. Late Z A Bhutto had established the Dokri Rice Research Institute in Larkana to boost to rice production. Growers, however, remained dissatisfied with the institute’s performance as far as the quality of rice seed is concerned. The institute needs strengthening. According to the institute’s head Wali Mohammad Baloch, the hybrid variety of seed has destroyed growers. He said the institute has produced DR-60 and DR59 varieties with matching yield potential as far as the hybrid variety is concerned. “It is the hybrid variety that is now hit by a sterility problem due to climate change and growers are unable to cope with it,” he says. The institute is pursuing a scheme of ‘seed production enhancement technology’ which awaits government approval. “We also want to promote Sindh’s indigenous varieties to lessen reliance on imported hybrid seed,” he remarked. Growers themselves realise that the hybrid variety has become a major problem for them and are paying the price for opting for it blindly. A progressive grower and Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB) representative from Larkana, Irfan Jatoi aptly describes this. “Larkana faces a water shortage. Hybrid seeds can be sown as late as possible therefore growers opted for it as the late sowing variety initially. When it increased yields, they naturally inclined towards it further to make an extra buck in the last decade,” he says. Lately, however, they faced problems of sterility thus incurring losses and are having second thoughts. “Adulterated hybrid variety is being marketed so growers are less inclined,” he says. Arif Ali Mahesar, a rice miller and grower, subscribes to Jatoi’s views. “Hybrid was late variety but when growers started using it for early sowing due to better water availability they didn’t get the desired 80 to 90 maunds of yields they had become accustomed to,” he says. Hybrid seed is expensive and needs massive inputs by farmers. Post-harvest losses during milling is another factor. With the upgradation of machinery in mills, at least 30,000 tonnes of rice production could be increased by offsetting post-harvest losses. Larkana’s industrial sector mainly revolves around rice mills. It has one sugar mill — Naudero — and a few flour mills. Business leaders including Larkana’s ex-mayor Khair M Shaikh and Larkana Chamber of Commerce president Mohammad Ali Shaikh contend that most of the industrialists own rice mills. They say Dokri Rice Research Institute needs to put its foot down and come up with new seed varieties and improve Sindh’s indigenous varieties. “Broken ratio in rice during milling is around 45pc to 50pc due to seed quality,” says Mr Shaikh. The Sindh government’s Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) is struggling to promote mechanised farming in rice. For the last seven years, it is supporting rice millers as far as the upgrading of their milling system is concerned. According to Mehboobul Haq of SEDF, out of around 630 rice mills, 450 were located in Larkana. “What SEDF is doing is to absorb markup of bank loans offered to rice millers for upgrading their systems. It is a markup subsidy which Sindh government is providing. We are supporting growers at farm level for promoting mechanised farming,” he says. A consortium of leading companies in the agriculture sector joined together to provide specialised machinery services to rice farmers in lower Sindh for nurseries, transplantation and harvesting. In terms of orchards, Larkana is famous for its guava production. Around 3,200ha are brought under guava cultivation in winter, followed by mango and watermelon on around 160ha each. Wheat, cotton, barley, sugarcane, mustard, gram, sesame etc are also produced throughout the year on a minor scale. Larkana’s share in cotton production is 0.3pc and wheat’s share is 4.3pc, according to a district profiling figure, compiled by Hina Shahid. In the livestock sector, the share of cattle and buffaloes is calculated at 3.1pc and 7.2pc as per the 2006 livestock census. Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, January 11th, 2021
  • The Basmati War

  • Pakistan is already fighting its case against India’s application for an exclusive GI (Geographical Indication) tag for basmati rice after the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) filed an application in the European Union (EU). However, it is unfortunate knowing that Pakistan has not registered basmati as a local commodity. The reason for our failure to protect basmati rice as a Pakistani product is the flawed piece of legislation, Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 2020. The legal document enacted in March this year has no mechanism to register basmati as a distinct local merchandise. If the authorities fail to catalog basmati rice as a unique Pakistani commodity under local GI laws, then our case before the European Commission (EC) will weaken.
     
    Unfortunately, successive governments failed to formulate the GI laws despite the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan’s (REAP) requests since the early 2000s. The government has to keep up with the crushing timeline and make the required amendments in the GI Act before it takes up its case in the EC. The EU is one of the most lucrative markets for Pakistani rice exporters. We cannot afford losing it because of negligence. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s exports of basmati to the EU have more than doubled in the last five years. Those of India have been shrinking because of the strict EU standards on the use of pesticides. We have already made inroads; it would not be wise to let a rival completely take over the market through the use of technicalities. The commerce ministry needs to get the REAP on board while formulating the required GI rules. If we can register the GI of basmati internally, our case in the EU will strengthen. Geographic labelling of basmati rice holds immense significance for Pakistani rice growers. The state must utilise all its resources in convincing the EU that Pakistan has a right to a GI tag for basmati rice. Indian traders are lobbying for exclusivity, as the application reveals. If the GI tag goes to India, Pakistan will lose the European market automatically.
  • Rice exports need more attention

  • A villager planting rice in a field in Lahore.

    In July 2020, rice export shipments shrank to 266,206 tonnes from 365,138 tonnes in July 2019. Export earnings fell to $148.8 million from $194.5m.

    These numbers released recently by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) do not necessarily indicate that during this fiscal year rice exports would tumble. But they bring to the fore some inefficiencies of exporters and government-run agencies. In 2019-20, Pakistan’s rice exports fetched $2.27 billion with an annual growth rate of five per cent, according to the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign trade report. This increase came at a time when Pakistan’s total food export bill of about $4.36bn was down more than 5pc from $4.61bn in 2018-19, according to the PBS. For the past few months, exporters were warning the government of the damage to the paddy crop during the ongoing second locust attack. The government claims it is fighting the second locust attack more furiously than it did during the first quarter of this year. It claims that the ongoing second attack has only slightly hurt the paddy crop that is at the flowering and harvesting stage. But exporters say the damage to the paddy crop, particularly in Sindh, is being underestimated by authorities. They say rice millers started factoring this in back in July and raised the prices of rice varieties for commercial exporters who, in turn, failed to export as much as they did in July last year.
    The nation can spare 4.4m tonnes for exports as domestic consumption and contingency reserves don’t require more than 3m tonnes. But it is up to the Ministry of Commerce and our exporters to find buyers for 4.4m tonnes of rice
    Even the mills that directly export rice failed to get as large buying orders as they did in July last year: their own cost of rice processing increased owing to the general inflationary trend and due to higher forward paddy prices paid to growers who were anticipating the crop’s damage under the second locust attack. Going forward, the future of rice export earnings depends on whether exporters can manage to export 1m-1.2m tonnes of Basmati rice and 3m tonnes or more of non-Basmati varieties. In 2018-19 as well as 2019-20, total rice shipments remained above 4m tonnes. But the exports of Basmati rice stood at 791,000 tonnes and 890,000 tonnes in 2018-19 and 2019-20, respectively. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) Chairman Shahjahan Malik hopes that during this fiscal year Basmati rice exports would touch the 1m-tonne mark. Based on July 2020 statistics of the PBS, the average export price of Pakistani Basmati rice now hovers around $955 per tonne whereas that of non-Basmati rice is around $453 per tonne. With some effort, the average export price for Basmati and non-Basmati could be raised to $1,100-1,200 per tonne and $500-600 per tonne, respectively. If this happens — and exporters, particularly those of Basmati rice, say they are working seriously to make this happen — then rice export earnings could be enhanced substantially with a little increase in the volume of 2019-20 that was below 4.2m tonnes. According to Reap statistics, the average export price of Basmati rice had shot up to $1,153 per tonne back in 2013-14. But this level could not be sustained in later years owing to fierce competition in global markets and, in recent years, also due to a huge depreciation that reduced massive gains in exports in the local currency. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently projected that Pakistan’s milled rice output during this crop year could be 7.4m tonnes against the target of about 8m tonnes set by our Federal Committee on Agriculture. The nation can easily spare 4.4m tonnes for exports as domestic consumption and contingency reserves don’t require more than 3m tonnes. But it is up to the Ministry of Commerce and our exporters to find buyers of 4.4m tonnes of rice. This should not be a problem as lockdowns in parts of India still continue, making rice exports difficult like they were in April-June. Our exporters grabbed that opportunity during the quarter to boost rice exports. But even if Pakistani exporters get some share of Indian rice exports, particularly in the Gulf region, overall competition in global markets this year is expected to remain tough — with Vietnam having a larger exportable surplus and with stricter rules in place for clearance of import consignments at ports of buying countries amidst Covid-19 safety measures. The USDA has projected a straight 17pc increase in Vietnam’s total rice output this year. Maintaining growth momentum in rice exports during this fiscal year also depends on whether brisk shipments to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia remain intact. They are among Pakistan’s important markets and our rice export earnings from these two countries were 18pc of the total, according to the SBP. Owing to the unfolding of deep and surprising strategic developments in the Gulf region, it is premature to predict how these developments will eventually impact our trade in the region. In 2019-20, our rice exports to China — the second largest market after the United Arab Emirates — did suffer because of Covid-19–triggered lockdowns earlier in China and later on in our own major cities. So the China factor would also determine to a great extent how our rice exports could grow in 2020-21. Exporters say that unlike the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, United States and the United Kingdom where Pakistan’s rice demand does not fall easily on price consideration, it does in China. This means that to boost rice exports to China, exporters will have to be more competitive than in the aforementioned countries. That is an uphill task, more so because in China there is far greater demand for our non-Basmati rice than Basmati varieties. And the damage done to paddy crops mainly due to the second locust attack and the increase in the transportation cost after a massive rise in domestic fuel prices have pushed up the cost of procurement of non-Basmati varieties for commercial and industrial exporters.

     

  • Rice exports witness healthy trend last month

  • After a continuous downward slide for the first four months of the current financial year against the corresponding period, rice exports from Pakistan witnessed a healthy trend in November 2020 and showed a slight growth at 458,104 tons against 452,020 tons in November 2019. “But the most important aspect of November 2020 rice exports is 28% increase in Basmati export from 61,054 tons in November 2019 to 78,160 tons in November 2020 mainly due to the enhanced volume of Basmati Brown export to the EU. It is estimated that during Nov 2020, Pakistan exported approximately 25,000 to 30,000 tons of Basmati Brown rice,” said Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Senior Vice Chairman Faisal Jahangir Malik while talking to Business Recorder here on Saturday. He termed the increase in Basmati rice exports as the entry of European buyers in the market especially from the UK, Italy, and Spain. Meanwhile, Hamid Malik, a rice sector analyst and consultant while sharing the export figures said non-Basmati exports in November 2020 decreased from 390,956 tons in November 2019 to 379,944 tons in 2020 mainly due to less priced Indian non-Basmati white and Parboiled rice. India is having a huge carryover rice stock and a bumper production from just harvested crop. India is cheaper by $30-40/ton for 5% broken than Pakistan’s $70-80/ton. The overall Pakistan rice exports in five months from July to Nov 2020 came down to 1,340,770 tons as compared to 1,628,295 (July-Nov 19), a massive decrease of 17% in five months of this fiscal year, he said, and expressed his fear that Pakistan Rice export in the fiscal year 2020-21 will not cross 4 million tons.
  • REAP to file reasoned statement against India’s GI claim of Basmati

  • Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) is preparing to initiate second step against the India’s claim on Geographical Indicator (GI) of Basmati and will file a reasoned statement, within 60 days as required. REAP is fighting the battle against India’s claim on geographical indicator of Basmati in EU. After the announcement of application of India for GI in European Journal, the first step was to stop India from proceeding further in its registration of GI in European Commission by filing a notice of opposition. Accordingly, REAP filed Notice of Opposition in EU by challenging. According to REAP, this is the first step which effectively maintains the status quo, whereby making the applicant’s (India) approval of GI conditional on the decision of DG Agriculture European Commission. Current status of the case is that REAP has filed a Notice of Opposition on 07-12-2020 against India’s claim on GI of Basmati in the European Union and the European Union has also acknowledged the filings of the ‘Notice of Opposition’ by REAP. Sources said that REAP is at this second step and preparing a reasoned statement to file, within 60 days as required. At the third step, hearings and other proceedings will start after this period of 60 days elapses, which will be in February 2021. The final decision on the registration of GI of Basmati will be delivered after the hearings. As the case in EU progress, REAP will keep on updating on all the developments. Basmati, being a centuries-old heritage of Pakistan, could not be allowed to be monopolised by India in the European market. Such a gross misrepresentation by India on the origins of Basmati is an attack on the values of fair competition among farmers and exporters in EU. Pakistan has a legal right to export Basmati with its original name in accordance with the practice in EU which is decades old. REAP is confident that Pakistan has a strong case as the EU recognises Pakistan as an authentic Basmati growing region. The GI tag is an exclusive right to sell products in the registered market.
  • Rice exporters challenge Indian GI claims on basmati in EU

  •       KARACHI: Rice exporters have filed a detailed response to the European Union (EU) in a Notice of Opposition against India’s claim on geographical indicator (GI) of long-grain aromatic Basmati rice in the EU.
     
    India, last month, had asked the EU to recognize the fragrant, long-grain staple as originating in seven Indian states and territories, which would give its producers exclusive rights to the basmati label in the lucrative European market. Pakistan rejects India’s claim, arguing that its farmers also grow basmati rice. “Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has filed a Notice of Opposition on (December 7) against India’s claim on GI of Basmati in the EU,” the association said on Tuesday in a statement.  

    “REAP has taken this step on behalf of rice exporters and farmers of Pakistan who are at the risk of losing a billion-dollars’ worth of income.”

     

    Since 2006, the EU has applied zero tariffs on rice imported into the bloc that has been authenticated by either Pakistani or Indian authorities as genuine basmati. Pakistan has a thriving industry of export of Basmati, making the country one of the top five exporters of rice in the world. REAP said it has previously been involved in developing and revising UK Code of Practice and arranging trade delegations abroad to foster the export of Basmati from Pakistan.

    “India had sought protection of its Basmati as a GI product in EU in a mala fide attempt to deter Pakistan’s growing export and appreciation of Basmati.”

    Pakistan’s export of Basmati to EU has almost doubled in the last five years and it has outpaced India’s exports of the same. The importers and customers in EU appreciate Pakistan’s Basmati more than that of India due to its exotic aroma, sweeter taste and soft texture and above all in terms of food safety including Pesticides which has resulted in increased demand. Basmati, being a centuries old heritage of Pakistan, could not be allowed to be monopolised by India in the European market.

    “Such a gross misrepresentation by India on the origins of Basmati is an attack on the values of fair competition among farmers and exporters in EU,” the statement said.

    Pakistan has a legal right to export Basmati with its original name in accordance with the practice in EU which is decades old. European importers have also raised their objections against the Indian stance, and in support of Pakistan. The statement said REAP is striving for an early legislation on the GI rules in Pakistan along with the Ministry of Commerce.

    “It will enable Pakistan’s exporters and farmers of Basmati to prevent their product from being used by the same name in international markets.”

    REAP said n internally registered GI of Basmati will strengthen Pakistan’s case in the coming legal stages in the EU. REAP remains optimist that Pakistan has strong case as EU recognises the country as authentic basmati growing region. “The protection of Basmati as Pakistan’s indigenous product is crucial to sustain the rice exports, Consequently, REAP is leading the way in this endeavor without any regards to costs.”
  • Saudi govt delists ‘Kernal’ rice trademark on Pakistan’s objection

  • Farmers sowing basmati paddy in a field. Pakistan is one of the top five rice exporting countries in the world.

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has succeeded in canceling the illegal registration of ‘Kernal’ for trademark by an overseas rice company, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood disclosed on Tuesday.

    The adviser did not mention the name of the country or the company which had sought trademark registration in his tweets, but interactions with senior officials in various ministries confirmed that the registration had happened in Saudi Arabia.
    This is the second time that a company in Saudi Arabia tried to monopolise the well-known trademark of ‘Kernel’ rice. Back in 2003, a leading Saudi company importing rice from different sources including Pakistan applied for registration of a trademark “Kernel.” However, timely action by the commercial section of the Pakistani mission in Jeddah compelled Saudi authorities to refuse the registration in the Kingdom. Rice Exporters Associa­tion of Pakistan (Reap) Chairman Abdul Qayum Paracha told Dawn that the issue was settled by the Saudi government. “The cancellation of trade mark will provide more protection to Pakistani brands and will lead to more exports,” he added. Neither the government officials nor the Reap chairman disclosed the name of the company which has registered ‘Kernal’ as trademark. On Aug 6 this year, Reap had sent a letter to the Ministry of Commerce to raise the issue diplomatically with the Saudi government for the earliest resolution. The ministry was informed that a Saudi Arabia-based rice export company had illegally registered the word ‘Kernal’ as a brand name which is similar to ‘Super Kernel’ — a premium rice variety grown in Pakistan. According to Reap, there is a lot of similarity between word ‘Kernal’ and ‘Kernel’. The association believes that the similar sounding words would have confused consumers the world over. On the request of the Reap, an official source said, the government of Pakistan had taken up the issue with the Saudi authorities to cancel the word ‘Kernal’ from its trademark list because ‘Super Kernel’ is a type of rice variety grown in Pakistan and legally it cannot be registered as a brand name. “We have received the cancellation certificate,” the commerce adviser confirmed to Dawn. “This was tantamount to unfair use of intellectual property of Pakistan, as the word is similar to ‘Super Kernel’, a premium Pakis­tani rice variety,” he said. The adviser thanked Reap for bringing the issue to the Ministry of Com­mer­ce’s notice. “I urge exporters to keep informing the ministry of commerce of such violations so that we can protect Pakistan’s intellectual property overseas,” he added. According to Reap, Pakistan is the 13th largest rice producer in the world and the 4th largest rice exporting country, with a 15 percent share in Global Rice Industry. Different varieties of rice grown in Pakistan include Super Basmati and Super Kernel Basmati Rice among others.
  • Pakistan consulate holds biryani rice tasting event

  • JEDDAH — Pakistan Consulate in Jeddah held Pakistani Rice Tasting Dinner (Biryani Night)’ organized at the Park Hyatt Hotel (Al Andalusia Restaurant) Al Hamra area. The event coincided with the visit of a 17-member Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) delegation to Saudi Arabia as part of trade promotion activities to increase the export of rice to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The delegation is headed by Ali Hussam Asghar, Senior Vice Chairman of REAP. Sheikh Mahzen Batterjie, Vice Chairman, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), who was chief guest at the occasion, welcomed the delegation to Jeddah. He also appreciated the efforts of the consulate in developing a good relationship between business communities of both countries. He said Jeddah Chamber is playing a pivotal role in increasing the bilateral trade, commerce and investment between the countries Shehryar Akbar Khan, Consul General of Pakistan, said the consulate appreciates the initiatives taken by the Rice Exporters of Pakistan, which would support our efforts to increase the exports of rice to the Kingdom. He shared that the consulate has made an extensive program for the delegation which includes meetings, business to business networking session and meetings/visits to the leading supermarkets and hypermarkets in the Western Region. Asghar, Senior Vice Chairman REAP, said this visit is under the vision of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, and Prime Minister Imran Khan which they underlined during their recent bilateral visits. He expressed satisfaction and appreciated the arrangements of the visit by the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Embassy in Pakistan and Pakistan Consulate and commercial section in Jeddah. He said Pakistan basmati rice has already a very good market in Saudi Arabia due to its good quality while pesticide issue with rice of other regional producers provides it more space. We need to grab that space, he added. He told that Saudi Arabia imports over $1 billion worth of rice every year making a great opportunity for REAP to further increase the export of rice. The delegation had a quite good response in Riyadh and hope to have good interaction with rice leading Importers in Jeddah as well, he added. After their interaction with their Saudi counterparts, the members of the delegation were very confident that they will meet their objective and the visit will be successful. They were hopeful of tremendous scope for the export of Pakistani basmati rice to Saudi Arabia, because of its supreme quality, unique aroma and taste.
     
     
  • REAP delegation off to Saudi Arabia for rice promotion

  • A 17-member delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) left for Saudi Arabia for promotion of Pakistani rice in the Kingdom. REAP senior vice chairman Ali Hussam Asghar is leading the delegation that will hold a number of events and business-to-business meetings (B2B) with rice importers during the 5-day visit to increase the share of Pakistani rice in that country. Saudi Arabia was one of the leading importing country of Pakistani rice; however, during the last few years, Pakistan's share in the Kingdom's rice market has drastically declined. Therefore, REAP has sent the delegation for promotion of Pakistani rice, which is much better than Indian rice. The delegation will visit several cities of Saudi Arabia, including Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah. A mega Biryani festival will be arranged in Jeddah where top rice importers have been invited to attend and taste some 15 different varieties of Biryani like Mutton Sindhi Biryani, Fish Bombay Biryani, Chicken Biryani, White Biryani, etc. REAP chairman Safder Hussain Mehkri informed that Pakistan's rice share in Saudi market declined to 20 percent and now REAP want to increase share up to 80 percent. The higher rice export will also help earn more foreign exchange for the country, which is facing a balance of payment crisis and need massive foreign inflows, he said, adding that currently, Pakistan's rice export are about $2 billion annually and REAP is closely working with the federal and provincial governments to increase rice exports to $5 billion by 2023. He said REAP has focused Research and Development (R&D) to get a better crop yield and as a part of these efforts, REAP organised a Rice Conference in Larkana, one of the major rice cultivation area, to discuss the issues being faced by farmers. Proposal and recommendation of this conference has already been sent to federal government for implementation, he said.
  • High-yielding hybrid rice area to cross 50pc in three years

  • High-yielding hybrid rice area to cross 50pc in three years LAHORE - High yielding hybrid rice area is going to cross 50 per cent in three years from present 25 to 30 per cent paddy coverage, yielding additional two million tons output, said Shahzad Ali Malik, Chief Executive Officer of Guard Rice Research & Services Pvt Ltd at a function.
     
    All efforts of introducing hybrid rice seed in Pakistan is being commanded by national seed companies mainly in collaboration of Chinese leader in research & development with 'Guard Agri' having the lion's share. Several multinational seed companies like, Monsanto, Pioneer, Syngenta and Bayer did try to introduce hybrid rice seed but failed to outperform national seed companies. Their varieties were less rewarding for farmers due to lack of jump in production while seed cost was also high if compared with what local seed companies were offering, Shahzad Ali Malik said. Malik, who is founding president of Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) and ex-presidents of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and LCCI, said that with untiring efforts of local scientists, the role of private sector in seed research and development is increasing day by day. With doubling of hybrid rice seed coverage from present 25-30 per cent to over 50 per cent in next three years, national rice production is potentially expected to be increased by hefty two million tons. At present yield is 6.9 million ton from 2.79 million hactares. By doubling the area from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, the expected increase in yield will be around 2 million tons and total yield will be around 9 million tons, he explained. In total rice hybridization, around 90 per cent area of long-grain paddy is in Sindh province while 10 per cent in South Punjab. As aromatic basmati rice is first choice for farmers in Punjab, coarse varieties area is still low. However, with production of hybrid rice seed in central Punjab, paddy area in Punjab is likely to increase significantly in coming years, he observed. The major factor behind success of national seed companies in large-scale acceptance of rice hybrid seed has been development of heat-resistance and drought-tolerant varieties, he said and adding multinational seed companies had varieties that could not perform well in harsh summer weather of Sindh and Southern Punjab. Hence, Malik said, the long grain hybrid rice that substituted IRRI-6 in coastal belt and central Sindh is a major success as its export market is rapidly evolving in the favour of farmers and exporters. The higher yield and lower production give a premium to farmers, considerably changing their socio economic conditions. Consequently, our long grain rice is gaining grounds globally with much ease by competing major producers and exporters countries of the world like Vietnam and Thailand. It is pertinent to mention here that Shahzad Ali Malik is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs who spearhead private sector research and development (R&D) in agriculture. His company has emerged as a leader in demand-driven research in agriculture, challenging the monopoly of public sector institutions and multinationals. With great passion to increase productivity of farming sector, Shahzad Ali Malik is actively striving to achieve food security in his untiring efforts spanning over past 25 years. He successfully pioneered the introduction of hybrid rice seed in Pakistan with collaboration of Chinese scientists.  
  • Pakistan rice exports register 27% growth

  • KARACHI (Dunya News) - Rice exports from Pakistan have seen sizeable growth of overall 27% at the end of February, 2018. This statement was given by Mr. Rafique Suleman, Senior Vice Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, while talking with news reporters. He shared the figures of rice exports during the period of July to February 2018. He said that at the end of February 2018, rice exports for fiscal year 2017-18 (July to Feb 2018) a significant growth has been observed as compared to last fiscal year 2016-17 (July to Feb 2017). He said that this year we exported total 2.59 million metric tons of rice amounting to US$ 1.224 billion, whereas last fiscal year in the same period we had exported 2.27 Million Metric Tons of rice amounting to US$.961 Million, which shows over all a significant growth of 27% in terms values and 14% in terms of quantity. He expressed his pleasure to inform the media persons that by the grace of Almighty Allah, we have come out of the crisis which we have been observing since last three years. Further with the coordination of REAP Office Bearers with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Customs, value of rice export trade is showing improvement which is a good sign for our country. Further, REAP members are putting their untiring efforts and aggressive marketing to increase the rice exports and to earn valueable foreign exchange for our beloved country Pakistan. He informed that last month REAP had organized International Buyers Recognition Awards in Dubai and as a result we are observing that rice exports to UAE showing good growth. In 8 months of current fiscal year, we have exported more than 100,000 Metric tons of rice amounting to US$ 67 Million. Kenya is the largest buyer of Pakistani Non Basmati rice and during eight months of this fiscal year (July to Feb 2018) we have exported 323,000 Metric Tons of rice amounting to US$ 118 Million. He also said that China is the 2nd largest destination for Pakistani Non Basmati rice. As at the end of February 2018, we have exported 233,000 Metric tons of rice valueing US$ 83 Million. He expressed his gratitude to authorities of Ministry of Commerce, Government of Pakistan for obtaining more benefits for Pakistani rice in the recent negotiations during 2nd round of Pakistan China Free Trade Agreement which will result into substantial growth in rice exports to China. He briefed that right now international demand for rice has been increased around the globe. He was happy to inform that this year we had a very good crop in terms of quality and quantity. Further, prices of Pakistani rice are comparatively cheaper than our competitors, Thailand, Vietnam etc. which is also in our favour. He added that Pakistani rice exporters are putting their extra ordinary efforts for fetching valueable foreign exchange for the growth of economy of our beloved country and making huge investment for installing world’s latest rice machinery and most modern technology for value addition in rice.
  • REAP to send trade delegation to Saudi Arabia

  • We are seeing positive growth in rice exports, the Senior Vice Chairman of REAP said.
    KARACHI (Dunya News) - Rafique Suleman, the Senior Vice Chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) held a meeting with Inamullah Khan, the Secretary of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) at TDAP Head Office Karachi. Rafique Suleman expressed with pleasure that we are seeing positive growth in rice exports, however, there are several measure to be taken for the betterment of the 2nd largest export trade. He shared the suggestions with TDAP Officials. He said that since long time we don’t have any good rice seed, that is why many companies are importing hybrid seeds of rice. He emphasized for proper check and balance on importation of hybrid seeds, as it has been observed that some companies are importing low quality rice seeds which are not good for our agricultural environment. After visit of REAP Delegation to Philippines in 2015, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has sent new GSR-1 & GSR-2 rice seeds, further NIBGE Faisalabad has introduced New Basmati Rice Seed BR-1 which is also useful in low quantity of water. REAP has distributed these Rice Seeds among Farmers for experimental sowing of rice and these seeds are in multiplication stage.   He also requested to give some relief to rice exporters are they are making huge investments for value addition in rice and struggling hard to compete in international markets, particularly for the survival of Basmati rice exports. He suggested to give farmers latest rice equipments, such as Dryers etc. on easy installments, so that we may get good quality rice for export purpose. He also suggested to organize Awareness Programme by TDAP for Farmers for adopting latest techniques in rice farming.   He added that REAP is planning to send a high profile trade delegation to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the month of March for the forceful marketing and promotion of Pakistani rice and to increase market share of Pakistani rice in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is very good market particularly for Basmati rice and they import approx. $ 1 Billion worth of rice every year. Pakistan had a good share in Saudi markets, however, since last few years Pakistani rice exports facing decline.   Pakistan had exported 172,000 M/Tons of Rice amounting US$123.86 Million in 2010-11, whereas in last fiscal year 2016-17 we have exported only 70,000 M/Tons amounting US$47 Million. Therefore, REAP has decided to send a trade delegation on priority basis. He was very hopeful that there is tremendous scope for the export of Pakistani Basmati rice to Saudi Arabia, because of its supreme quality, unique aroma and taste. We are also sending letters to TDAP and Pakistan Mission in Riyadh and Jeddah for arranging meetings of REAP Delegation with Chamber Officials and Leading Rice Buyers.
  • Rice sector strives for recognition as industry

  • Rice sector strives for recognition as industry Lahore - The second largest export-oriented sector of rice , with its more than $2 billion annual export, is still striving for its recognition as an industry .
     
    The fragmentation in supply chain partners, including farmers, millers and exporters poses a bigger challenge. The issue at farm levels poses threat for export destinations while the local millers that handle 70 percent of paddy, are ignorant of good milling and storage practices which deteriorates the grain quality and add pain to the agony. This was stated by Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Chairman Chaudhry Sameeullah in a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday. The meeting was attended by the Standing Committee Chairperson Shaza Fatima Khawaja, REAP SVP Rafeeq Suleman, Secretary Kashifur Rehman, representatives of Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Food Security, TDAP and Ministry of Industries. REAP chairman observed that the competing countries, including Thailand, India, USA, Brazil, had recognised their rice sector as an industry that benefitted with the formulation of policies to increase yields at farm levels and improvement the quality for exports. “The current fragmentation of sector is a barrier to development. Declaration of rice sector as an industry would help in the formation of consolidated policy that will help in the integration of all supply chain stakeholders into one chain,” he said, and added, “The Ministry of Industry would in turn help government with relevant policies to add value to rice supplies from farms till forks. The step to declare rice sectoran industry would benefit with 30% higher exports (Additional $500 million) by saving Post-Harvest Losses (20%) and increasing exports to high-valued destination by 30 percent.” The Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Food Security officials supported REAP stance. In a bid to address the body’s concern, Shaza Khawaja assured the delegates of her fullest support for the sector to be recognised as an industry . Others matters, including inclusion of Rice in Chinese FTA, Release of Funds from EDF Board for Rice Technical Training Institute, Reap stance of Zero Tolerance on Mandatory Pre-shipment Inspection were also discussed. The committee will submit its proposals to Minister of Commerce, Pervaiz Malik for due implementation for increasing rice exports.  
  • Rice exporters seek grant to sideline India in European market

  • Rice. 
PHOTO: REUTERS LAHORE: 
     
    Rice exporters have sought government’s support to capture most of India’s $260-million rice business with the European Union as the 28-nation bloc has adopted a zero tolerance policy for the Tricyclazole chemical found in Indian grains. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Chaudhry Sameeullah Naeem sought the assistance at a seminar organised by the association for the awareness of its members. Naeem emphasised that Pakistan could target India’s basmati rice market in the EU following upcoming application of stringent policies by the bloc to the presence of hazardous pesticides in the commodity. From January 1, 2018, all countries that export basmati rice to the EU must bring down the maximum residue limit for Tricyclazole to 0.01mg per kg. Until now, the EU has been accepting 1mg per kg in rice shipped from different countries including India.
    ‘Made in Pakistan’ expo planned in UK   Naeem suggested that Pakistan could enhance rice exports to the EU from 150,000 tons to 350,000 tons by grabbing Indian exports of 200,000 tons which may be stopped due to the strict regulations. Tricyclazole is a fungicide used by Indian farmers over more than 70% of basmati crop. But Pakistani farmers do not use such chemicals to protect their produce. “Basmati varieties grown in Pakistan do not require the use of fungicide and we can gain from the restriction on Indian exports,” Naeem said. India exported around 350,000 tons of rice worth $260 million to EU countries in the previous fiscal year. Of these, 70% had 1mg per kg of Tricyclazole. He pressed the government to announce a grant to help promote Pakistani rice in the international store chains. “Pakistan’s brand can get space by replacing Indian basmati in renowned mega stores of European states with financial support of the government,” he said. “This presents an opportunity to grab India’s market share because it will take at least two cycles to reduce the consumption of Tricyclazole.” Naeem pointed out that basmati rice exports had been facing stiff competition from India and decried that lack of research and unavailability of new seeds had resulted in low productivity. “High input costs have made Pakistan’s basmati totally uncompetitive,” he said and urged the government to extend financial support to the second biggest export sector in order to enable them become price competitive and bridge the widening trade deficit. “Rice is the second biggest export sector after textiles but it has always been ignored by the government,” he remarked. The Main Dish Thomas Unger of Eurofins Global Control GmbH, while discussing the challenges faced by the exporters of rice to the European market, said Pakistan had a huge potential but the exporters should pay attention to meeting specifications of the importers. “Rice exports to European countries are picking up, but exporters should pay attention to issues like aflatoxins, pesticide residue and new regulations being put in place by these markets. However, complaints of aflatoxins in rice consignments from Pakistan have dropped to almost negligible levels,” he added. Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2017.
  • Matco Foods to belisted in September

  • KARACHI: Matco Foods, Pakistan’s largest rice exporter, is going for listing in the stock market in September this year to raise funds for its new plant in Karachi. Faizan Ali Ghori, director, Matco Foods, in an interview with The News said that funds to be received through Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Matco Foods in September would be invested on a new plant in Karachi. Matco Foods has major stakes in Basmati rice. Being the largest Basmati exporter of Pakistan, it exports to around 65 countries. “Our brand ‘Falak’ is the largest selling Basmati brand from Pakistan,” he said. Matco processes around 100,000 tons of Basmati per year. It has also been financed by World Bank’s institute IFC. Ghori, who is also a member executive council of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), said Matco was also going in the business of other foods, as seller of imported biscuits, wafers, rice flour, gram flour, oil, pink salt, etc, since Pakistan has one of the highest consumption to GDP ratio in the world.   He said the company was investing in the new business of organic rice glucose and organic rice protein products, which would be used by other companies, mostly in their baby products. “Majority of glucose is extracted from corn, but in Europe and the US, corn syrup is being replaced with rice,” he said. “Since rice is not genetically modified, it is least likely to cause allergy.” Matco’s plant would have capacity of 10,000 tons per year of rice glucose and rice protein, and the plant would start operations this month at a preliminary investment of Rs350 million. Another plant of this type would be established at Port Qasim in the next phase, where a land of 10 acre has been purchased and further funds would be generated from the IPO. “In the next phase, we will develop dextrin (powdered) glucose,” Ghori said. Talking on Federal Budget 2017-18, he said overseas financing for warehousing would be beneficial for non-Basmati exporters, especially those who export to African countries, where Pakistan’s IRRI rice was mostly consumed as staple food. “People can establish their warehouses there and get financed,” he said. “We will have advantage in Kenya market with it.” This was a proposal of REAP, which was incorporated in the budget. Besides African countries, China is also a big market for IRRI. “Last year, Pakistan exported 0.5 million tons to China but this year it (China) is importing from Vietnam and other countries,” he said. Matco processes Basmati in all four types; unrefined brown rice, refined Basmati, parboil (sela) and steamed Basmati. “We are using latest technology and have imported machines from Japan and Germany,” Ghori said. He said alarmingly seed development was not here, so yield was too low. Hybrid seeds provided 90 to 100 maunds per acre in the world while our production was at a maximum level of 60 maunds. “No new variety of Basmati was developed after late 80s,” he said. “A famous Basmati variety 1,121 was developed in India and smuggled in Pakistan.” Matco exports around 80 percent of its production and sells 20 percent in the local market. However, it is planning 50 percent sales in the local market in the coming 5-6 years, as “People here are saving their time of rice cleaning and more people are going towards processed and cleaned rice,” he said. He suggested that Pakistan should focus on seed development, as plant scientists in India were doing, but regretted that the Rice Research Institute was not developing any seeds on commercial level. “Our yields are lowest per acre,” he said. “Mechanical transplantation should be here.” He said REAP has been suggesting the government to allow it to use Export Development Fund to use on farmers’ education and research. Matco is growing organic rice in Punjab while lands in Golarchi, Sindh is under conversion, as it takes three years to land for the conversion for organic plantation. “We have received USDA and EU organic certification,” he said. “Last year Matco exported 300 tons of organic rice.”
  • REAP threatens to shutdown mills from tomorrow

  • Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has announced to shutdown rice mills from Monday if the goods transporter strike issue persists. Addressing a press conference here on Saturday at Karachi Press Club, Mahmood Moulvi Chairman REAP has shown serious concern over the goods transporters' strike said due to the recent transportation problems, all exports have almost come to halt. He said that all the stakeholders of export trade are facing huge financial losses and now compel to stop operation aimed to reducing losses. Although, transporters are on strike from the last few days, the federal and provincial governments' authorities are not handling the matter properly. "The country's overall and particularly rice exports are already facing many challenges in the world market and declining sharply, while now the transport strike is further damaging the exports", he added. In the current situation, when mills are processing rice but failed to dispatch the commodity due to transports' strike, rice millers and exporters have decided to shut down their mills aimed to minimise losses, the chairman REAP said. Rice exporters have no other option except to go on strike and close their rice mills till the problem resolved. He has appealed Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, ministry of commerce and Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah to intervene in the matter and resolve the issue on top priority basis as all import and export trade activities are halted because of goods transporters' strike. Rafique Suleman former chairman REAP said that all traders respect the court's decision, but there should some way out to resolve the issue. He said that as the imported goods are not being released from ports due to strike, the both ports Karachi Port and Port Qasim will be completely packed in next two days making the import and export impossible due to congestion. He said holy month of Ramazan is also approaching fast and this is the time to supply commodities in different parts of the country. Markets may face shortage, if immediately supply will not be restored, he added. In addition, the delay in exports consignments may also resulted in cancellation of export orders mainly as buyers could not bear the late supply. He said that while the Prime Minister and federal ministers are making efforts to enhance the exports to earn more foreign exchange for the country, the strike is directly hurting these efforts. Former chairman said that there is need to devise a proper policy for the movement of heavy transport in the city to end the issue that is directly hurting the country's economy. On the occasion, Anwar Mian Noor former chairman REAP, Safdar Mehkari and other leading exporters were also present.
  • Rice exporters eye big deals in Saudi Arabia

  • ISLAMABAD: Rice exporters of Pakistan are expecting to fetch big deals in Saudi Arabia during their visit to the Kingdom from May 11 to 19. A 14-member joint delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and Pak-Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PSJCCI), headed by Shah Jan Malik, vice chairman of REAP, is visiting Saudi Arabia as part of the trade promotion activities to increase exports of rice to Saudi Arabia. According to the Consulate General of Pakistan, Jeddah, Shehryar Akbar Khan, consul general of Pakistan, has appreciated the initiative taken by the rice exporters of Pakistan, and expressed the hope that these measures would support Pakistan’s efforts to increase rice exports to the Kingdom. He said the consulate is making an extensive programme for the delegation, which includes meetings with Makkah and Jeddah chambers, business-to-business networking session and meetings / visits to the leading supermarkets and hypermarkets of the western region. Pak-Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mian Mehmood said Saudi Arabia imports over $1 billion worth of rice every year, making great opportunity for REAP to further increase exports. The joint chamber is playing a very vital role in promoting trade in all the sectors between the two brotherly countries, he added. Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) vice chairman Sheikh Mahzen Batterjie has welcomed the visit of the delegation and said such bilateral visits are necessary to increase the bilateral trade, commerce and investment between the two countries. The delegation members expressed confidence that they will meet their objective and the visit will be fruitful. They said there is tremendous scope for the export of Pakistani basmati to Saudi Arabia because of its supreme quality, unique aroma and taste.  This is the reason why Pakistani basmati is very popular worldwide, including Saudi Arabia. REAP has been making efforts to promote Pakistani rice, which has resulted in exponential increase in the popularity of the produce across the world, the delegation members added.
  • Rice export blues

  • Rice exporters seem to be in deep trouble, as the latest PBS numbers spell out disaster; for the eight months ended FY17, Pakistan’s total rice exports are down 11 percent year-on-year to $2.41 billion. It is pertinent to mention here that rice is Pakistan’s second-largest export earner, after textile.
    For 8MFY17, Basmati exports are down 13 percent in quantity and a whopping 17 percent in value. As for non-Basmati, exports are down11 percent year-on-year in terms of volume, and14 percent in dollar terms.   Rice-a

     

    This column has highlighted the falling Basmati exports numerous times in the past (Read: “Low price weighing down rice,” published June 22, 2016). However, now it’s the non-Basmati variety that has become a cause of concern. This decline is a relatively recent phenomenon, as Pakistan had been doing exceptionally well to capture markets for its cheaper, non-Basmati varieties of rice in FY16. Indeed, the once booming non-Basmati varieties are now suffering the same fate as their premium counterpart.
    A well-placed source from REAP told BR Research that the main reason for the decline has been a higher price; local stockists/middlemen have been hoarding rice and shoring up the price. Now Pakistani rice is around $25-30 more expensive than Thailand or Vietnam. Rice-b
      Furthermore, there has been a drop in the quality of this rice as well; where previously the non-Basmati rice was 35-40 percent broken, it is now around 50 percent broken. One ray of hope is that banking channels with Iran are finally opening up and Basmati is showing some signs of improvement. For the month of February, Basmati exports inched up by 25 percent over last year. The source added that Basmati rice is now getting a better price and the reopening of Iran could bring much-needed reprieve for the industry.