Russia clears 15 more rice companies for imports

Published June 17, 2023
After fresh additions, a total of 19 companies have become eligible to export rice to Russia.—Dawn/file
After fresh additions, a total of 19 companies have become eligible to export rice to Russia.—Dawn/file

ISLAMABAD: Amid a declining trend in rice exports in the outgoing fiscal year, a ray of hope has emerged with the registration of 15 more rice establishments for exports to the Russian Federation.

The Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research recommended these establishments to the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) after a technical audit.

“This marks a huge success towards boosting up exports and the overall economy of the country,” the food ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Russia restricted imports from Pakistan due to pest interception in rice. However, it lifted the ban in 2021 and allowed only four mills which had complied with quality standards.

The DPP, with the support of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), took special steps to upgrade 15 more mills as per the guidance document of Russia for compliance with the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements for rice exports.

Tireless efforts were made in this direction to ensure these establishments are brought in conformity with the SPS requirements to export rice through improvement in the quality and quantity of rice.

Now, 19 rice companies can export rice to Russia. The move is good news for rice farmers, especially in Punjab and Sindh as their main source of earnings is based on these exports.

Moreover, Pakistan being an agrarian economy can also look forward to enhancing exports in other domains as well by improving quality standards as per global markets. This agreement opens a gateway for further exports of rice to international markets.

Efforts are on to make more rice processing facilities on par with international standards to achieve major shares in high-end export markets of Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia.

Pakistan’s basmati exports shrank to 541,492 tonnes ($588m) in 11MFY23 from 695,564 tonnes ($632n) in the same period last fiscal year. Other rice varieties’ foreign sales fetched $1.4bn with shipments of 2.964m tonnes in July-May FY23 against $1.6bn (3.816mn tonnes) in the same period last year.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2023

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