Fall in Rice exports concern Businessmen Intellectuals Forum
ISLAMABAD: The falling rice exports concerned the President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) Mian Zahid Hussain, terming it a damage to the economy on Monday.
“The government should take steps to curb the fall in rice exports as soon as possible otherwise it will have negative impacts on the economy of the state”, he said in a statement . 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, he added.
Hussain expressed concerns over the future of the country’s rice exports as some major markets have been lost while some others are under constant 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 preceding 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 whom are switching to other crops while enabling exporters to regain their competitiveness in the international market, he demanded.
Moreover, he came with a suggestion that all the major stakeholders including rice growers, traders, millers and exporters should be facilitated as they have suffered because of the low demand of Pakistani rice in the international market.
Meanwhile, he urged that rice farmers deserve all the facilities that rival nations are offering to their farmers including affordable seeds, pesticides, electricity, water and dryers, adding, they should be given direct subsidy as indirect subsidies are less effective. “Our competitors are able to raise their exports by benefiting from market-oriented or demand-driven research”, he further said.