Russia rejects Pakistani rice consignment

ISLAMABAD — Russia has rejected a consignment of 7,000 tonnes of Pakistani rice ready for shipment at the port of England last month. It was done despite after a high-level delegation of Pakistani rice exporters and federal food ministry visited Moscow last week to influence the Russian Phytosanitary watchdog to lift ban on import of Pakistani rice.

By A Correspondent

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Published: Sun 9 Sep 2007, 8:55 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:35 PM

In what appears to be a major disappointment for the Pakistani diplomatic efforts made over the last six months, Russia rather opted to pack Indian rice in the same vessel in which Pakistani rice was supposed to be shipped, a leading rice exporter said yesterday. The Russian Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Services (VPSS) has imposed ban on import of rice from India, Pakistan and Vietnam in December 2006.

At present these countries are lobbying for resuming their export to Russia. Rice from Pakistan was never exported to Russia directly but through England and with the help some Middle East based exporters which has deprived the Pakistani exporter the opportunity to make a lobby in Russia to protect its interests. The consignment of rice which was rejected by Russia at the end of August had been sold to General Produce, a British company, by Pakistani exporter. The rice was supposed to be picked up by Russia. "But at the end Russia decided to pack the same ship with the Indian rice, which was supposed to deliver 7,000 tonnes of Pakistani rice," a source said. A Pakistani delegation comprising officials of the federal ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (Minfal) and Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) had visited Moscow on August 12 to satisfy the demands of the VPSS officials who had visited Pakistan in the end of April and inspected the quality of Pakistani exportable rice, its packing and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards.

Minfal had termed the visit of the Pakistani delegation as a success. The ministry has also prepared a report which answers the four major questioned raised by the VPSS included Phytosanitary, fumigation and storage process for exportable rice in the country. A list of the names of pesticides used by farmers on rice crop and their residual impacts is also included in the report ready to be sent to Russia.

Sources said the major hurdle in the way of Pakistani export is the lack of implementation of the Sanitary and Pythosanitary legislations in the country. But above all, the absence of a Pakistani lobby on the former superpower country has made it impossible for the Pakistan to press Russian policymakers to decide in its favour at critical times or whenever needed.

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