LAHORE – Pakistan can capture India’s $260 million rice business with the European Union following the EU’s zero tolerance on Tricyclazole chemical found in Indian grains.
Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Chairman Chaudhry Samee Ullah said that Pakistan can target India’s basmati rice share in the EU market, following the stringent policies placed by the European Union on the presence of hazardous pesticides in the commodity. From January 1, 2018, all countries that export basmati rice to the EU must bring down the maximum residue limit (MRL) level for Tricyclazole to 0.01 mg per kg. Up till now, the EU was accepting 1mg per kg from different countries, including India .
Samee said that Pakistan can enhance its rice export to EU from 150,000 ton to 350,000 ton, grabbing the share of 200,000 tons of Indian rice export to EUwhich may be stopped due to strict regulations. Tricyclazole is a fungicide used by Indian farmers in more than 70 percent of basmati crops. He said that Pakistan’s farmers do not use such chemicals to protect their crops. “Basmati varieties grown in Pakistan do not require use of the fungicide and stand to gain from the de-facto ban on Indian exports,” he added.
India had exported rice of around 350,000 tons worth $260 million to the European Union countries in last fiscal year, 70 percent of which has tricyclazole limit of 1mg/1kg. Samee demanded the government to announce matching grant to shelve Pakistani product at the international store chains. Pakistan’s brand can get space by replacing Indian basmati rice in European countries’ renowned mega stores with the financial support of the government.
“This presents an opportunity to grab India’s market share , because it will at least take two cycles to reduce the consumption of Tricyclazole in India .” He said that Basmati rice export had been facing severe competition from India . He regretted that lack of research and non-availability of new seeds has caused low yields, adding that the high input costs have made Pakistani Basmati rice totally uncompetitive. He urged the government to extend financial support to the second biggest exporting sector in line with other export-oriented industries enabling them to be price competitive in the international market to bridge the ever increasing gap of trade deficit of the country. He said rice is the second biggest exporting sector after textile but it was always ignored by the government.
Meanwhile, the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan organised an awareness for its members which was also addressed by REAP Chairman Samee Ullah Naeem. Thomas Unger of Eurofins Global Control GmbH was the guest speaker of the seminar, aimed at discussing the challenges being faced by the rice exporters to European market.
Unger said Pakistan has a huge potential of rice export but its exporters should pay attention towards meeting the specifications of their importers. He said that rice export to European countries was picking up but the exporters should pay attention towards issues like aflatoxins, pesticide residue and also new regulations being made by these markets. However, he said that complaints of aflatoxins in rice consignments from Pakistan had reduced to almost negligible level.
Source The Nation