Tuesday February 27, 2024

TCP plans setting up rice cleaning, processing mills in Karachi

September 10, 2019

KARACHI: The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has planned to setup rice cleaning, processing and milling units in Karachi in partnership with the private sector, an official said.

“In this regard, TCP would provide cemented buildings and structures at National Highway and Landhi Industrial Area to the interested parties on rental basis,” the official said. Trading in rice both in domestic and international markets has become more quality conscious, even in the local markets buyers now demand quality rice.

“In order to meet the challenges under the WTO (World Trade Organisation) regime, it is now very essential for the country to put together its rice production and marketing strategies to match the demand of the international markets,” the official said.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’s overall rice exports in the year ended June 30, 2019 clocked in at $2.069 billion, up 1.67 percent against the exports of $2.035 billion in the previous year. Some 537,133 tons basmati rice and 3.545 million tons other varieties of rice were exported from the country. Pakistan earned $2.074 billion in FY19 up from $ 2.035 billion, showing 2 percent compared to last year.

Rice is Pakistan’s third largest crop in terms of area sown, after wheat and cotton. About 11 percent of Pakistan’s total agricultural area is under rice. Pakistan is a leading producer and exporter of Basmati and IRRI rice (white long grain rice). Rice ranks second among the staple food grain crops in Pakistan and exports are a major source of foreign exchange earnings.

The country grows a relatively high quality of rice to fulfil domestic and export demand. Traditionally, 40 to 45 percent of the crop is used for local consumption, with the balance exported.

According to a report issued by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), the milling industry made significant investments in state-of-the art processing machinery, but Pakistan exports most of its rice in bulk with no modern packaging and branding.

“Export companies could be doing more to develop brands and a more significant presence in foreign markets,” the TDAP report said. The export industry was comprised of a large number of relatively small firms which were often family-run and accustomed to traditional trading practices.

“However, that is changing and Pakistan’s rice exporters are becoming increasingly active advocates for their industry and their trade interests. With time, the industry is expected to adopt more strategic and brand-based approaches to rice exporting,” it concluded.