Empowring rice exporters welcomed


Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) appreciated the bold and positive steps taken by the Ministry of Commerce (MINCOM) through the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to disband the Quality Review Committee (QRC) and serving one months final notice to the staff with golden handshake.

The notice period expires on 6th August 2015 and it will be an end to the faulty system created by vested interest several years ago. Rice exporters will be free to export their rice without PSI by QRC.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the committee had become futile and also a hurdle in the export of branded rice. The rice exporters needed a free hand to export rice under their own brands with basmati and other superior varieties of rice which is non basmati.

Besides it was against the concept of pre-shipment inspection (PSI) which is always by a third party. The QRC was abused by its former managers who used it as a tool to subdue their competitors and MINCOM realized this fact and shifted the premises of QRC to an independent location and also took the management under their control to make it independent, transparent and impartial. Nevertheless the system was challenged and caused embarrassment to the law makers. PSI is the prerogative of the buyer and it is always the buyer who nominates the PSI company. If the buyer trust his shipper he will not insist on PSI but usually in bulk shipments it is considered safe for the buyer to nominate an inspection company of repute.

Pakistani rice exporters have regular buyers and the exporters visit their buyers frequently. UNISAME however advised the SME rice exporters to take great care and improve their quality and packing and create their own brand image with good in house quality control system. Pakistani rice is considered tasty and even our 1121 which is non basmati has an aroma and for this reason Pakistani 1121 rice is sold at a premium as compared to Indian 1121 rice. Of course our basmati rice is the best in the world and elongates on cooking and is tasty and has a special flavour with aroma. Every effort must be made to maintain its distinguished position.

UNISAME is thankful to Hamid Malhi the managing director of Basmati Rice Growers Association of Pakistan for advocating the case for GI registration in the international forum.

Thaver called upon the leading rice millers, processors and exporters to accommodate the QRC staff by offering them employment.

He said UNISAME has no complaints against the staff members except that they were influenced by the former managers, it was only against the system of PSI which was a mockery of PSI which UNISAME always pointed out to the authorities and various forums.

Even the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) never enrolled it as a PSI because it did not meet their requirements.

A PSI company has to be a joint stock company and must be qualified and eligible to conduct PSI and equipped with a laboratory and having an insurance cover to pay claims due to errors or mistakes in assessment or evaluation.

He felt really sorry for the employees of QRC and said it would have been better if MINCOM would have transferred them to the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) rather than leaving them in a lurch after 15 years of service.

Thaver thanked the print and electronic media, the committee and patrons of UNISAME who stood behind him in the cause of disbandment of QRC and facilitating the rice exporters.