Pre-export quality certification to
Quality and grading certification of the products
like cotton, rice, wheat and fruits will help establishing credibility
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
June 04 - 10, 2001
In an effort to enable the agriculture products to
earn the price what they really deserve in the international market,
the government has decided to allow the private sector inspection
companies to certify quality specification and grading of cotton,
rice, fruits, prior to their shipment from Pakistan.
The step is naturally advisable in view of the
ever-growing competition in the choosy international market where
quality and grade of the products is becoming a pre-requisite for the
exporters to survive. Unfortunately, Pakistani products are not rated
as the quality products due to lack of quality, grading and proper
marketing campaigns. Hence they are unable to fetch the value they
actually deserve for.
The best example of this market setback is related
to Pakistan's Basmati rice.
Zubair Motiwala, President Karachi Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (KCCI) told PAGE that some Indian traders
taking advantage of the situation, buying Pakistani rice in Dubai and
selling under Indian brand "Taj Mahal" at a much higher
price than the Pakistani rice are fetching in the market.
KCCI chief feels that quality and grading
certification of the products like cotton, rice, wheat and fruits by
the companies of international repute will help establishing
credibility of Pakistan products in the international market. He
however expressed the hope that permission to private companies will
not be a repeat story of Cotecna and SGS the two foreign companies
appointed by the then government for pre-inspection purpose which
instead facilitating the exports had created hurdles for exporters.
Zubair Motiwala pointed out that promotion of
"Made-in-Pakistan" culture would be an added advantage of
the quality certification of Pakistani products meant for exports. A
quality and grading certificate issued by the reputed international
companies will increase demand of Pakistani products in the
international market beside facilitating the exports in terms of value
and volume, he remarked. He said that export sector is required to be
equipped well with all relevant accessories to meet the challenges
which are in store in the face of globalization of trade under WTO
regime in near future.
Shakoor Dada, Chairman of Karachi Cotton
Association (KCA) has also welcomed the move of the ministry of
commerce allowing the private sector companies for pre-export
certification of certain exportable items from Pakistan.
Talking about quality and grade of Pakistani
cotton, Shakoor said that contamination in cotton starts right from
the initial stage due to improper picking of cotton bolls. The
certification companies will be required to oversee the picking
process initiated from fields to ginning factories to ensure quality
and grading of the cotton. He said that modalities of the cost of
certification or inspection have not been evolved so far, however
those willing to get their products certified would naturally bear the
cost of certification.
Regarding the size of the current cotton crop,
Shakoor said that unofficial assessment of the crop comes to around
10.5 million bales this year. He said that an official announcement in
this respect is expected within a day or two. During the current year,
Pakistan exported about 6 lakh bales of cotton; the size of export is
likely to gain further especially in view of the improved quality and
grading of cotton by international certification companies.
Meanwhile, Razzaq Dawood, federal minister for
commerce has said that initially private companies have been allowed
for inspection and grading of cotton. This would enable the cotton
growers to get a better price of their produce in accordance with
quality and standards besides enabling Pakistani cotton to be traded
as a graded product in the Liverpool Cotton Exchange where it was now
being rejected due to contamination.
Simultaneously, the government strengthening
Pakistan Cotton Standard Institute (PSI) but private sector inspection
and grading would play an important role in export. The minister said
that Pakistan was losing around $150 million every year due to
contaminated cotton that is being traded as second grade product,
The minister said that pre-qualification of
international companies for the grading purpose would be done next
month who would also be responsible to establish cotton testing labs
in Multan, Rahimyar Khan and Sahiwal.
These companies would issue grading certificates to
growers. The growers would then go to ginners and get the price
according to the grades. The minister said that a lot of fruit and
vegetable did not meet the export standard and eventually the country
is in the loss.
To meet international market standards, Pakistan
would have to ensure quality and regular supply of products and to
ensure quality in all these fields. Pakistan will take at least five
years, said the minister adding that the culture of quality and
standard needed to be introduced in the country to harness full fruit
of available resources.