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Pakistan’s self-sufficient agri sector can help meet local demand

Quality Pakistani rice products facing tough time; prompt reforms, technology integration can help recoup lost status

Interview with Mr Abdul Rahim Janoo – former Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP)

Profile:

Chairman: — Haji Razak Janoo Memorial Trust, Karachi.

Pakistan Economic Forum.
Masjid Al-Razak, S.I.T.E/Masjid Al-Hamida, Super Highway/Jama Masid Haider-e-Karrar (Clifton)/Jama Masjid Mustafa (Nooriabad)/Jama Masjid Umer (Manzoor Colony)

Former Chairman: — Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP).

FPCCI Export Trophy Awards and Achievement Awards 2015
Accounts FPCCI 2015
Fair and Exhibition Committee FPCCI 2015/2016

Former Senior Vice President: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

Former Vice Chairman: Pakistan Rice Board, Government of Pakistan.

Former President: Dhoraji Cooperative Housing Society.

Member Managing: Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Karachi (1999-2002)

Leader of Delegation: Dubai, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, UK, USA, South Africa, India, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen.

Member: Federal Export Board, Government of Pakistan

Member: Karachi Club/Muslim Gymkhana Founder Chairman: —

Pakistan Sri Lanka Business Council (1991-95).

Pakistan Milk Powder Importer’s Association (2006-2008).

Chief Organizer: Baba Farid Free Eye Camp (largest & most modern free eye charity trust in Pakistan) also done free eye camps in Azad Kashmir, Afghanistan & Bangladesh. Upto December 2016 have organized 253 free eye camps in Pakistan & abroad.

Recipient: — Got Gold Medal from Prime Minister of Pakistan as the Best Chairman of any association in 2003.

Got Gold Medal from Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2006 for increasing rice exports more than 550%.
Got Gold Medal from Federal Health Minister Government of Bangladesh in 2007 for eye charity services in Dhaka, Chittagong and Mymen Singh Bangladesh.
Got Gold Medal from Prime Minister of Pakistan for good value export from Pakistan on 28/12/2015. Got Gold Medal Government of Sweden on agriculture paper.
Given Award of Maseehaat Pak Pattan by Mr Mohammad Mian Soomro, acting President of Pakistan.

PAGE: What are your views on the agriculture sector of Pakistan?

Abdul Rahim Janoo: Pakistan being an agro-based economy has natural abundance of all agricultural products including food items. Rice is the third largest crop after wheat and cotton. Pakistan has great potential in agricultural sector. It has a good share in country’s GDP as well as a huge number of jobs are generated in agricultural sector. Agriculture sector plays a vital role in the economic development of our country. It is confirmed and supported by the fact that the GDP growth rate in Pakistan is mostly reliant upon the growth rate in agriculture sector; if the rate of growth in agriculture sector is low, it brings shortage of food, and other necessary raw materials in the country and the prices of the essential goods go up. The progress of agriculture sector provides a sound base for the economic development and is considered one of the preconditions for takeoff or self-sustained growth. Moreover, agriculture is the major source of providing manpower to various sectors of economy. In Pakistan, approximately 55% of labor force is employed in agriculture sector.

PAGE: Kindly tell us about the quality of Pakistani rice:

Abdul Rahim Janoo: Pakistan has the best quality rice in the world. Pakistani Basmati and non Basmati rice are very much liked by the people of rice buying countries. The major buyers of Pakistani non Basmati rice are Kenya and China. Pakistan has been exporting approximately 0.5 million metric tons of rice to both the above countries. However, rice exports to China is facing decline in this fiscal year. Although Pakistani Basmati rice is facing tough competition in international markets and for last many years it is on decline, however, at the end of year 2017, a good sign of increase in rice exports has been observed.

 

PAGE: How could Pakistan increase its exports of rice?

Abdul Rahim Janoo: Rice export is the 2nd largest earner of valuable foreign exchange of our country. Pakistan has been exporting rice worth $2 billion annually to more than 100 countries of the world. However, for last many years, its rice exports are on declining trend. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has sent many suggestions and proposals to Government of Pakistan to increase the rice export trade. Some of the proposals are appended below:

  • Rice export sector must be given an industry status.
  • Urgent attentions must be given to Free Trade Agreements with China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, African countries, Qatar, Oman, Iran, Iraq etc.
  • Multiple taxation system on rice trade must be resolved.
  • Result-oriented Research & Development work must be done for new rice seeds.
  • Privatization of Rice Research Institutes (RRIs) of Government in Sindh & Punjab.
  • Inclusion of One REAP Member in Board of Directors of all RRIs.
  • Rice export sector must also be given Zero Rated tax regime, like other 5 export sectors.
  • Financial matters related to State Bank of Pakistan must be given proper attention
  • There should be a long term policy for increasing export trade.
  • Concerned and relevant government departments such as Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Department of Plant Protection (DPP) must extend their support for increase of rice exports.

We are hopeful that after giving due consideration to the above mentioned proposals, rice export trade of Pakistan must get a significant boost and a handsome amount of foreign exchange may be earned to strengthen our country’s economy.

PAGE: Your views on the use of technology for this sector:

Abdul Rahim Janoo: Farmers are one of the most important stakeholders of rice industry. Pakistani farmers are mainly using very old practices which are obsolete in developing countries. Government of Pakistan must initiate education campaign for farmers to adopt modern technology in rice, so that productivity may be increased and we may get better quality and more quantity of rice for export purpose. REAP has been requesting the Government of Pakistan to support farmers for the betterment of export sector. Further, value addition is very necessary in every export sectors. Pakistani rice exporters are also investing a lot in installing latest rice machineries and most modern technology and the latest equipment in their rice mills for the value addition.

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