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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Muscat meets 60pc of its rice demand with Pakistani grain: diplomat

By Our Correspondent
May 30, 2024
A customer buys rice at a wholesale shop in Karachi. — AFP/File
A customer buys rice at a wholesale shop in Karachi. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Consul General of the Sultanate of Oman Eng Sami Abdullah Al Khanjari has said that the Omani government imports 60 per cent of its rice from Pakistan because of its ‘best quality’ as compared to other countries.

He said this while speaking at a meeting during the visit of an Omani delegation to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday and added that the government was keen to further expand this percentage.

According to the official, since Oman is facing a shortage of onions these days, the business community in Karachi should also consider the possibility of exporting onions and other agricultural products including potatoes, lentils and mangoes to Oman.

“Oman has been importing rice from Pakistan since 1982 and we highly appreciate [the country] for providing best quality rice, but we would like to see more Pakistani products including several other agricultural products, sugar, textiles, towels and other good quality products being exported to Oman,” he added, expressing that while such products are currently being imported from Turkiye, China, India, Australia, Pakistan is not there.

The consul general, while appreciating the KCCI for hosting Omani officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, expressed Oman’s keenness to collaborate with the business community in different fields of the economy to make good business between the two countries which was the basic reason for the recent visit.”

The delegation held meetings with the governor of Sindh and the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) in addition to visiting Port Qasim, two laboratories and some companies.He also advised Karachi’s business community to highlight any obstacles hindering smooth trade with Oman so that these could be removed, besides stressing the need to regularly hold expos in both countries so that business communities in both countries could better understand each other and explore possibilities of expanding trade.

Omani officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources also invited the business community to their country to explore the possibilities of not only expanding trade with Oman but also taking advantage of the facilities being provided for exporting to African countries.

Keeping in view the country’s trade potential, the officials expressed the interest of regularly visiting Pakistan every year so that potential products being manufactured here could be exported to Oman.

Earlier, KCCI President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, while warmly welcoming the Omani consul general, stated that the bond between Pakistan and Oman is strengthened by common cultural practices, religious beliefs, brotherhood, and extensive social interactions.He noted that Pakistan’s exports to Oman totalled around $166 million during the first nine months of FY24 whereas last year, Pakistan exported $193 million worth of goods to Oman.

“Despite brotherly relationships and immense bilateral trade potential, the volume of trade is low which needs to be enhanced to a reasonable level”, he said, adding that both countries need to reduce trade barriers, diversify range of products, simplify customs procedures, promote SMEs, and foster business collaboration to give a much-needed trade boost for economic integration.