Call to educate rice exporters

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the attention of the Director General Plant Protection (DGPP) Department to the lack of correct information about particular scientific fumigation requirements of western countries and urged the DG to arrange a much needed seminar in collaboration with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to educate the rice exporters about the specific requirements of different countries and save the rice exporters from losses due to weak or improper fumigation.

One leading rice exporter said the rice exporters needed definite answers to their specific questions from the plant protection department and wished to know that rice if fumigated with Methyl Bromide with the dose of 80g and exposure time of 48 hours can be re-fumigated or not? If it can be fumigated than after how much time from the 1st fumigation of Methyl Bromide.

Secondly, they also wish to know if rice fumigated with Phosphine tablets can be re-fumigated or not. If it can be re-fumigated than after how much period from 1st fumigation.

The rice exporters said that APHIS/FDA of USA allow re-fumigation of rice by FDA approved fumigator, if Rice container is found infested, provided the container at origin is fumigated by Phosphine tablets.

The rice exporters pointed out that APHIS/FDA of USA do not allow the re-fumigated of container if Phytosanitary Certificate says fumigation by Methyl Bromide. These are typical questions and need correct answers to resolve the fumigation and phyto sanitary issues of the rice exporters.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said some processors and exporters had made special separate air tight godowns outside the premises of their mills only for fumigation and packing of final rice. These godowns are fully plastered, filling is done by chalk and painted with 3 coats of colour and absolutely air tight. The rice exporters are very particular about environment and correct fumigation as infested cargo results in claims and rejections and resultantly in losses.

He said some containers few years ago were returned from EU due to Aflatoxin and last year from USA due to Khapra Beetle. To bring a rejected container back to Pakistan costs about Rs 500,000 in which major portion of expenses is of getting NOCs and gratification money demanded by all departments working at port because a returned container is wrongly treated as an import.

He said many exporters had gone out of business by rejection of containers by EU for Aflatoxin and USA for Khapra Beetle and some were still struggling to make good the losses they have suffered.

UNISAME expects that the DGPP as an export friendly institution would address the questions of the rice exporters and educate them on the very important subject of fumigation and the medicine to be used to save the rice exporters from losses in the face of rejection.

UNISAME also urged the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) to consider the issue seriously and persuade DGPP and TDAP to conduct a fumigation requirements seminar for the benefit of the rice exporters.

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