Rice Exporters Hit Back on SAPM on False Claims

The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Agrar Affairs (SAPM), Jamshed Cheema, allegedly responded severely in Pakistan to basmati rice claims.

Sheema said that demand in the export markets is predominantly coarse rice, but Pakistani farmers concentrate only on basmati, while shifting to coarse rice production. He added that only local consumption can grow basmati rice.

This assertion was denounced by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, which claims that Pakistani basmati rice collects more than $800 million per year of exports, even mentioning its huge export potential.

The REAP President Qayum Paracha said, "Patently wrong and deceptive, the SAPM declaration about the market for basmati rice."

He said that the REAP "would like to know that basmati have been seeded in Punjab since the 17th century and, thanks to its special flavour, our basmati rice is the global ambassador of Pakistan."

The new Pakistan exports of rice of all kinds amount to almost $2.3 billion annually, and a contribution of $800 million from the Basmati rice group, Paracha said. Paracha. He also said that the whole supply chain of basmati rice, including farmers, thousands of labour, exporters and brand owners, is dependent on it for hundreds of thousands of people.

The REAP Chairman retorted that the SAPM is deterring the sowing of this heritage commodity instead of promoting research and rising the yields of basmati, with an export value of more than $3 billion per annum.

"Their reckless comments on Pakistan's highest levels would threaten our case in the European Union. Such a detrimental attitude of a high government officer rejects our attempts to save our legacy of basmati rice for hundreds of years and our investments in rice mills, export brand capital," he remarked.