Pakistan will play host to the Cricket World Cup participants, though not in literal sense, as this right goes to the host country. But, it will play a role of hospitality, of course with a traditional touch.

The one-dish menu may not be so mouthwatering as to suit the versatile tastes prevalent in the West, but it certainly would attract a vast number of clientele once it was introduced there. The proposal to serve Pakistani biryani in the cricket world cup matches will go on air, along with the scores of the contenders in different matches.

There could be more than one ways of boosting the country’s export. But the Export Promotion Bureau and the high-ups in the Rice Export Corporation have jointly come up with a new methodology to make it an instant success by sending the message world over, in one go. Both, the rice and the cricket diplomacy will sail on the wavelengths in unison.

Somewhere in the remote corner, far away from the cricket grounds of South Africa where giants will be at war, the Pakistani producer of basmati rice will feel the touch of national vanity delightfully, and would swear to produce more for world consumers.

As Pakistani basmati had been a victim of international conspiracy in a bid to reduce its share in world market, this novel idea may go a long way in reviving the demand. The unmatching taste of the Pakistani basmati rice, longer grain and easy availability has won it a place among the world’s leading producers. Be it ‘kernal’ or ‘sela’ types, our rice finds a place on the dinning tables of those who can spend and have the will to stay within its fold.

A menu of 22,000 tons rice costing millions daily, and at the world forum is not a small event. National pride of both, Pakistan being a winner of the world cup, and the tillers of the best quality of basmati rice, must sail together at the world cup venue, some supporters of the export drive campaign say. The pro-active approach and marketing sense of the private sector could well be judged for the fact that way back in October last year the planners of ‘Biryani Festival’ floated this novel idea of promoting sale of basmati rice in the world market. Their high standards and aggressive marketing techniques could be even judged from their matured approach towards the matter as they took the approval from International Cricket Council (ICC) well ahead of the event.

However, they could not elbow out the world giants in the fast food such as McDonald, KFC and ANW who had already taken the approval from the ICC for opening up their sale outlets within the cricket grounds where the world cup would be played. But still they did not lose heat and sought the ICC permission for allowing them to distribute free biryani at the conclusion of each match.

The private sector’s acumen could match none as the representative body of rice exporters i.e. REAP had also obtained approval from the ministry of health, South Africa, well in advance and also took their guide lines in order to avoid any violation in the process of the event. In such mega event where one expects to go along with the rising tide and achieve this goal but there are equal chances of losing everything if the affairs are not well planned in advance and meet the pressures and standards of the event.

As per the laid down standard the ‘biryani’ will be packed in packs of aluminium foil which will be free of cost and could be sufficient for five persons to have their full meal. Looking at the consumption habits of the South Africans the organizers of the festival will prepare a chicken biryani and expect to distribute around 5,000 packets at the end of each match.

However, the bureaucratic snags as usual had their toll over the event and according to the promoters of the event (REAP) their all efforts were nailed down by the delay in getting approval from the EPB which slept over the suggestion floated way back in October last year. It was easy for the organizer to get the necessary approvals from ICC and the host of the world cup i.e. South Africa, but was too difficult to even make our bureaucracy to understand the importance of the event.

Instead of grabbing the novel idea the EPB approached the commercial consular of the Pakistan embassy in South African who after a long delay came up with his own idea of holding ‘Pakistan Cultural and Food Festival’. But the same was rejected the by REAP on the ground that such an event will only serve the elite of the country where as their target consumers are common people who needed to be introduced with the Pakistani basmati rice and its qualities.

After a much delay only last week on the intervention of the commerce minister the EPB gave official its nod to the event. As a result of this now the organizer will be missing first round league of 20 days of the world cup. Having no choice, the organizer of the festival will now be targeting major event of the world cup i.e. Super Sixes Round going to be contested by 12 world class teams in the last ten days event. Despite such shortfalls caused by our bureaucracy the organizers did not lose their heart and tried to overcome the situation by filling the gaps with other important events which includes opening of stalls at major shopping malls of three big cities of South Africa. These stalls will be hired on daily rental basis for free distribution of chicken biryani. On an average around 12,000 to 15,000 shoppers are estimated to visit these malls daily.

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