As per sources, it has been reported that the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan to take appropriate and timely steps to regain the Pakistani basmati rice share in global markets and to save the basmati rice from collapse. Further, in this regard, UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver also urged the Commerce Minister to first get the zero rating for the rice sector to provide it instant relief from the burden of multiple taxes on the entire supply chain from farms to markets. Moreover, it has been observed that the farm inputs have become very costly and the promised relief, though insufficient, has not yet become available. It was also stated by Mr Thaver that rice is the second largest sector after textiles and it deserves the support of government to overcome its downslide in global commodities’ markets. Moreover, this is the best time for support as the new crop is on the threshold .Further, in this regard, it was also narrated that the white and parboiled rice sector both need support to get back on their feet.
Furthermore, it was urged to the Govt to get the Geographical Indication (GI) of basmati rice approved by the Intellectual Property Organisation and simultaneously to get basmati trademark approved by the Registrar of Trade Marks in favor of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to enable all stakeholders to use it as a national property ownership. It was also suggested to the Commerce Ministry to co-ordinate with the other ministries for research in seeds to develop other varieties too. In addition, it was reported that it was very important to improve the entire supply chain from farm to markets while all the sectors from primary to tertiary sectors need to be upgraded too.
The Union also highlighted some of the other related issues that are being faced by the exporters which include exports to third world countries, as the commercial banks are not inclined to discount documents and bills drawn on buyers or their banks since most banks are of low rating .To overcome this impediment, Mr Thaver explained that other countries have state owned export credit guarantee insurance companies, which work on low premiums to facilitate and promote exports to third world countries. It was informed that the bank charges have also been increased, making the transactions costly. In this aspect, the UNISAME president emphasized the need for Commerce Ministry to act promptly and save the rice sector from big losses.