UNISAME advises exporters to promote basmati rice export

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises ( UNISAME ) advised the basmati rice exporters to build their brand image and promote export of basmati rice and regain lost markets.

UNISAME thanked the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan ( TDAP ) and the ministry of commerce ( MINCOM ) for closing the Quality Review Committee ( QRC ) rice inspection cell which proved futile and became a hurdle for basmati rice exporters.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver appreciated the positive step taken by MINCOM to disband the QRC and remove all impediments in the export of basmati rice. QRC became a hindrance and rice exporters now have a free hand to export their rice varieties as required by the buyers with or without pre-shipment inspection by third party.

The staff of the QRC was served with a termination notice one month ago and yesterday was the last day. TDAP has directed the employees to collect their dues. Thaver said the rice exporters are now in a position to export their own brands and urged them to register their brands and build brand image. However he requested the SME rice exporters to maintain the quality of all varieties of rice whether basmati or non basmati.

He was confident that the rice exporters will do their best to promote the basmati rice which is our national heritage. He also requested the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan ( REAP ) to take up the matter of geographical indications for basmati rice and not procrastinate on the issue.

He advised the SME exporters of rice to set up their own quality control systems and carry out quality inspections of the cargo before shipments and if need be by third party inspection companies. QRC was given under TDAP since last 3 years after being managed by REAP for more than a decade. The management by REAP created conflict of interest and was challenged in the court of law which ruled that REAP could not compel rice exporters to become it’s members and directed QRC to be made independent, transparent and impartial. It was then shifted to independent premises and placed under TDAP.

However, the audit report is awaited and the issue of property purchased by REAP in its own name from QRC funds is questionable and the property will have to be returned and the TDAP officials who facilitated the transaction will be answerable.