President Mamnoon Hussain has emphasized the importance of research and development for introducing higher yielding and better quality rice seeds in order to increase rice production and exports.
The President expressed these views while talking to a delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) which headed by its Chairman Muhammad Shafique called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Thursday.
The President underlined that REAP should itself take the initiative to promote research and development in the rice sector which will benefit not only the rice exporters but also rice farmers. The President noted that Trade Associations have an important role to play in unlocking the export potential of Pakistan by fostering business environment and representing interests of the business community.
The President said that the government is committed to provide an enabling business environment through a consistent policy direction for trade and industry. The President appreciated the resilience of rice exporters in dealing with cyclical business slumps as rice industry has been under pressure due to drop in international price of rice.
The President noted that rice sector is the second largest earner of foreign exchange adding that the Government is determined to tap the full export potential of this sector and has taken steps to encourage value-addition. The President assured REAP of his full support in revitalizing this sector and removing hindrances in increase of rice exports. The President said that Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku and Agriculture University, Faisalabad should also strive to introduce higher yielding seeds in cotton and rice for strengthening the country’s economy.
The delegation of REAP apprised the President about their proposals for increasing rice exports and also briefed him on their problems relating to formulation of Geographical Indication Law for getting patent right on its Basmati rice, development of new rice seeds, relief in export refinance payment, utilization of Export Development Fund and grant of industry status to the rice units. The delegation praised government’s policies and initiatives to promote exports of the country.