“The future is bright for Pakistan’s rice sector, with China being one of the major markets for us,” noted Faisal Jahangir Malik, Senior Vice President of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, while taking an exclusive interview with Gwadar Pro.
Pakistan is an agricultural country where rice is cultivated on a big scale. How should Pakistan’s rice make its way into the Chinese market? First, to gain export approval.
After completing the required international food safety and security standards, China has allowed 7 more Pakistani rice units to export rice this July. The number of total companies with approval to export rice to China reached 53, which would help further increase Pakistan’s exports of rice, therefore help Pakistani rice exporters penetrate the Chinese markets.
“I advised that China should approve more Pakistani companies,” Shamsul Islam Khan – Vice President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce, and Owner of Integra Trade and Marketing Karachi – told Gwadar Pro.
He explained that Pakistani exporters should be listed in the Chinese import quarantine as much as possible, so that it could lead to more healthy competition, with more exporters being able to export to China.
On top of getting export approval, Pakistani rice exporters are also trying to renew the industry through cooperation with their Chinese partners.
Building brands would be a good choice. “The income of the middle class in China has increased tremendously in the last thirty years. They try everything new – foreign textiles, garments, cars… In the same way, they are trying out new foods from abroad,” Shamsul Islam Khan pinpointed, adding that Pakistanis should develop Pakistani brands in China to attract customers. He predicts that in the future, the demand for Pakistani food in China will increase.
Besides, farming equipment, fertilizer, and cultivation are of significance in boosting yield.
“China has efficiently jumped in the international market by making quality and standard machines,” Shamsul Islam Khan mentioned, adding that their color sorter machines are imported from China because they are attractive in price and quality.
“Our capacity is low and China is a huge market,” Shamsul Islam Khan added. He pointed out that modern Chinese small units can be adopted in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab. “We can reduce the broken percentage and get good quality in mills by installing these units.”
Also, Ch. Muhammad Rafiq, Director of Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku, pointed out the importance of cooperation in scientific research.
“A large portion of our land is under the effect of salinity and Chinese are working on salinity. It would be nice if China could exchange material and collaborate with us,” he said, adding that Pakistanis are still running breeding programs with old traditional methods and are not using the genetic engineering aid.
“To meet the food standards of China we have to do a lot of hard work. But if we make it, it would be a very big window for us and our exports can be increased many folds!” said Imran Sheikh, Project Manager WAPRO at Galaxy Rice Mills, Kamoke, one of the 7 Pakistani firms newly approved for exporting rice to China.
As per Faisal Jahangir Malik, his experience of business with China remained very good. “We did not have any issue of payment or taking orders,” he said.
“Under CPEC China and Pakistan are cooperating in many fields including agriculture, and if we want to be in it, we have to look for more,” Shamsul Islam Khan noted.