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LAHORE: At least 600 containers of Pakistani rice are stuck up at Kenyan ports as the customs authorities there have subjected the consignment to 100 per cent scrutiny and verification against the norms.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) Chairman Sameeullah Chaudhry says the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Customs started full verification and sampling of rice containers reaching Mombasa port, Kenya, for inspecting phytosanitary standards and physical characteristics (broken, damaged) since one month.

The step is being taken despite appropriate certificate of conformity at the loading port by the agencies recommended by KEBS including SGS, Intertek and Bureau Veritas etc, he says, adding the detention of containers is causing heavy demurrages and thus landing cost of the rice is increasing with each passing day.

He says that there is only one lab in Kenyan capital Nairobi to conduct the heavy metal tests whereas the cargo is stuck up at Mombasa port and thus the testing process is taking extraordinary time.

Mr Chaudhry demands that the foreign office should take up the issue with their Kenyan counterparts for Pakistan High Commission as commercial consular’s requests are not being entertained by Nairobi. Kenya is one of the largest markets for Pakistani rice as it imports at least 475,000 tonnes or 12pc of the total rice exports of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018