KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has initiated efforts to get duty-free access into the UK market for the export of white rice.
Currently, there is no duty on the export of brown rice from Pakistan to the UK and EU countries and Pakistani exporters are taking full advantage of duty-free access to the UK and EU. Pakistan exported some 0.35 million of brown rice approximately $300 to UK and EU during the last fiscal year.
In recent development, in the first week of May, Pakistan’s major rice competitor-India has concluded a third round of talk with the UK on FTA to get concessional or duty-free access to the UK for the export of some 240 items including white rice. Both countries are ready to finalize the FTA by October this year.
The maturity of FTA between the UK and India may pose risk to the exports of white rice from Pakistan to the UK. Although, the UK and EU is not major buyers of white rice, however REAP, sensing the importance of this issue, has initiated efforts to get concessional or duty-free access for Pakistani rice exporters.
In this regard, Chairman REAP Ali Hussam Asghar held a meeting with the federal secretary Commerce Saleh Farooqi on Tuesday to discuss the India-UK FTA and its impact on Pakistani rice exports. During the meeting it was decided to further gear up the efforts for the same status from the UK which will be given to Indian white rice under the proposed FTA.
Chairman REAP told Business Recorder on Wednesday that REAP is well aware of the situation and already in touch with the Ministry of Commerce to develop a strategy on this issue. The yesterday meeting with the Secretary Commerce was very successful and he realized the REAP concerns on the UK-India FTA and assured full support, he said.
“We (REAP) are also in touch with Shafiq Shahzad, Pakistan’s Commercial Counselor in the UK and he is already monitoring the issue closely,” he added.
He said “Pakistani white rice quality is much better than our competitors and Pakistan can earn more foreign exchange with export of rice.” Hussam said that as the Eid holidays were starting that week, it had decided to initiate the fruitful efforts after the Eid.
Chairman REAP said that with some 25 percent healthy growth Pakistani rice exports rose to all-time high during the last fiscal year. For the first time in history, Pakistan exported rice worth $2.5 billion during FY22 compared to $2.04 billion in FY21. Pakistan can earn more foreign exchange by exporting rice; however, there is need to make efforts to enhance the rice crop production, he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022
LAHORE: Pakistan rice exports surpassed highest ever export record by achieving 4.4 million tons in 11 months of the current financial year 2021-22.
Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Ali Hussam Asghar told Business Recorder on Saturday that the previous highest rice export record was of 4.16 million tons in full year. He said they are very close to achieving the 4.8 million tons of rice export this fiscal and value wise crossing export of US$ 2.5 billion. Quantity wise Basmati export this year might reach 740,000 ton to 750,000 tons at the end of current fiscal year, Ali hoped.
Meanwhile, Ali Hussam Asghar, who has also launched a ‘grow more-export more’ campaign, called on the Governor Punjab Baligh-ur-Rehman the other day while leading a delegation to discuss a proposal on incentivizing the agricultural sector for growing more and achieving the US$ 5 billion export according to the vision of the REAP.
Ali said that a detailed proposal on giving tax holiday in the province to companies investing in the agricultural research and farm mechanization was discussed with the Governor Punjab. He agreed to the proposal suggested in the joint meeting with the government departments and the REAP to put up vision of US$ 5 billion rice export plan focusing on supply chain in the province. He also agreed to take up the issues to the platforms concerned to make the target happen and support the continuous growth of rice export.
Founder Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik, former chairman Chaudhry Sami Ullah Naeem, Pir Nazim Shah and REAP MC members also accompanied their chairman during this meeting.
Ali Hussam Asghar & Founder Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik also thanked Governor for his special efforts in getting 17 per cent general sales tax removed on seed sector, especially hybrid seed in budget proposed for the year 2022-23 after REAP & PHHSA intervention.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022
With 450 out of Sindh’s 630 mills located in the district, the urban areas are a hub of rice productionLarkana 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
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 riceEven 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.
“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.”
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.
|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.|
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.|
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