In a positive development for the Pakistani economy, the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has expressed optimism that rice exports for the current year are poised to surpass the historic $3 billion mark. The announcement was made on Wednesday by REAP Chairman, Chela Ram Kewlani, who attributed the anticipated growth to improved rice crop production in the current year compared to the previous one, which suffered significant losses due to devastating floods.
Chairman Kewlani emphasized the importance of exploring new markets in emerging regions to further boost the rice export sector. Despite government support, the industry faces challenges from high tariffs imposed by various countries. Kewlani called for negotiations with these nations to ease tariff barriers, urging the inclusion of the rice sector in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to create a more favorable environment for exports and generate new opportunities for the sector.
The inclusion of rice in FTAs was highlighted as a key factor by Chairman Kewlani, who believes that it would not only contribute to stabilizing the exchange rate but also strengthen the overall economy of the country.
Former Chairman of the Rice Export Association of Pakistan, Ali Hasan, echoed Kewlani’s sentiments, emphasizing the challenges faced by rice exporters, including high tariffs and other duties in target markets. Hasan joined the call for the inclusion of rice as a product in all FTAs, expressing hope for a surge in rice production and stocks in the current year, leading to a record increase in exports.
Ali Hasan also shed light on the potential impact of Pakistan’s approval of the Global Indication (GI) law, foreseeing significant opportunities to enhance economic and trade activities in the international market. According to Hasan, the GI law would level the playing field for the export of various agricultural and trade goods, including rice, in the global market. He highlighted the law as a powerful economic tool, attracting global demand and premium prices for Pakistani products on the international stage.
The positive outlook from the REAP leadership and prominent figures in the industry indicates a promising trajectory for Pakistan’s rice exports, signifying not only economic growth for the country but also the potential for increased global recognition of Pakistani agricultural products.