Pakistan finally gets access to Qatar’s rice market

Updated July 10, 2019

Email

Pakistan will export 100,000 bags of rice to Qatar as part of the government initiative to enhance overall rice exports from the country. — Photo courtesy Ahsan Mahmood/File
Pakistan will export 100,000 bags of rice to Qatar as part of the government initiative to enhance overall rice exports from the country. — Photo courtesy Ahsan Mahmood/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will export 100,000 bags of rice to Qatar as part of the government initiative to enhance overall rice exports from the country.

With the continuous efforts of the government, Qatar has now opened its market for Pakistani rice. Previously, Pakistan rice was not being procured by the state procurement agency of Qatar.

An official statement issued here said that Central Tendering Committee (CTC), Qatar advertised a tender for the procurement of 100,000 bags from Pakistan, which provides an enormous opportunity for the export of Pakistani rice to Qatar.

Previously, the private sector in Qatar continued to import rice from Pakistan, the CTC, government of Qatar, which procures for state-supplied subsidized rice for Qatari citizens made its tender Indian-origin specific thereby effectively banning the import of any other origin rice including Pakistani rice into Qatar in the year 2011-12.

The CTC issues tenders after every two months for supply of more than 5,000 tonnes of high-quality rice to the government of Qatar and the Pakistani origin rice has been excluded from these tenders. Therefore, Pakistani exporters/suppliers have been deprived of supplying about 30000 to 40000 MT good quality rice to Qatar per annum.

This initiative will open a new avenue for market access of Pakistani products which will significantly contribute in enhancing the country’s overall exports. Removal of restriction by Qatar on Pakistani rice export is a step in this direction that will reclaim Pakistan’s share in the global rice market.

Rice is the largest agro-export commodity in the export basket of the country with a total export of over $2 billion. The government has the vision to take rice exports to $5bn in next 5 years.

The Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Abdul Razzaq Dawood has hailed it as an important milestone for the export of agro products. He mentioned that rice exports are on an upward trajectory in China and Indonesia due to additional market access secured by the current government.

Rice Exports Association of Pakistan (REAP) has appreciated government efforts in successfully helping REAP open up the Premium Basmati Market in Qatar, for supply of Pakistani Rice to Qatar Market.

It is encouraging with Basmati Rice exports which have seen an upward trend fetching $637.99m FY19 compared to $581.85m for the same period last year, the upward trend in Basmati exports have complimented in achieving the $2.1bn mark.

The government has also secured duty free market access on export of rice into Indonesia while getting unprecedented preference over (ASEAN); and also secured additional market access into the Chinese Market.

Moreover, during the recent visit of Iranian Commerce Minister to Pakistan, Iran has offered a market access to Pakistan by resolving to import 500,000 tonnes of rice from Pakistan which provides an opportunity for rice exporters. The Iranian delegation also extended its full support to work on removal of potential bottlenecks to increase trade and jointly develop a way forward. It is pertinent to mention that China has also opened its market for Pakistani rice.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2019