Rice is a staple food of most of the countries in world and it is the third major crop grown in Pakistan. It is grown over 10% of the total cropped area; accounting for 6.7% in value-added agriculture and 1.6% in GDP. Rice is highly valued cash crop and export item in Pakistan. Pakistan grows enough high quality rice sufficient for its domestic and export needs with an export volume of around one million ton per annum.
Qatar is a major rice buyer of Pakistan. In the year 2012-13, Pakistan has over 50,000 metric ton of Basmati rice for over US$50 million along with 36,000 metric ton of non-Basmati rice worth more than US$21 million.
But the export graph went downward from there on and only 15,000 metric ton of Basmati rice was exported to Qatar from Pakistan between July 2014 and May 2015.
The Ambassador of Pakistan to Qatar Shahzad Ahmad has invited a delegation of rice exporter from Pakistan, members of REAP to visit Qatar for a two day visit to find opportunities to enhance rice trade with Qatar.
During this two day visit to Qatar, the delegation would meet leading rice importing companies in Qatar and government officials.
Rafique Suleman, the Chairman of REAP who led the delegation said that “the trade in rice from Pakistan to Qatar was very good till 2010 but then the trade went slow due to some reason and the delegation is here to resolve all those issues and try their best to bring the trade back to their height” at dinner ceremony hosted by the Ambassador of Pakistan at his residence.
The delegation leader praised the ambassador for his efforts and requested for his continuous support and given his assurance that Pakistan has enough of high quality rice to supply to Qatar. He said that Pakistan has latest equipped laboratories to check the quality standards of exported rice. It has a capability of exporting 4 million tons of rice to different countries of the world and hence ranked 4th in top rice exporter countries.
The leader said that they need support from government of Qatar to increase the current rate of rice export to Qatar from Pakistan to almost US$100 million.
He said that the delegation hope to have a meeting with the officials of Central Tenders Committee (CTC) in Qatar that floats tender for the import of rice from local companies.
The delegation leader said they would urge the CTC to include Pakistan’s name in the list of countries as ‘Pakistan origin,’ to facilitate the import of rice by local companies directly from Pakistan.
Pakistan’s rice is known for its quality worldwide and its rice is being sold at very good prices in countries like USA, UK and many others.
He said that before the Qatar visit, the delegation also visited went to Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines. After they will wind up with their Qatar visit, they would be head to Bahrain before proceeding to China and Britain.
Leader of Delegation said that Pakistan has more than 30 qualities of rice with biggest export volume of non-basmati rice. The delegation’s mission is to gain contracts directly from countries’ governments so that the exports of top-quality Pakistani rice can be increased manifold to [its full potential].”
The REAP delegation includes prominent exporters of rice and other agriculture products from all over Pakistan. In 1988-89, REAP came into existence and started interacting with the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and also the Planning Division of the Government of Pakistan.It is the second largest export trade body registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of Pakistan. It has an active membership of 1,500 throughout the country.Currently Rafique Suleman holds the chair of the Chairman of REAP