Pakistan Eyes Increasing Rice Export to Iran
Pakistan Eyes Increasing Rice Export to Iran
Chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Mr. Ali Hussam Asghar (L) and Pakistan Ambassador to Tehran Mr. Rahim Hayat Qureshi are seen addressing the participant at the Rice Festival at Hotel Espinas of Tehran on Wednesday.

Chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Mr. Ali Hussam Asghar says Pakistan is keen to increase its rice exports to Iran, noting that implementation of barter trade between the two countries will accelerate this rise.

On Wednesday, Embassy of Pakistan in Tehran in collaboration with REAP held the first international Pakistani Rice Festival at Hotel Espinas Palace of Tehran in the presence of Pakistani rice exporters delegation led by Mr. Asghar, Iran’s deputy Agriculture minister on international affairs Mr. Hooman Fathi, Head of Iranian Rice Importers Association Mr. Abbas Tavakoli and some Iranian and Pakistan rice business activists.

Addressing the event, Chairman of REAP Mr. Asghar said he is happy that the first edition of international rice festival is being held in Tehran as his country is one of the biggest producers of basmati and Iran is one of the biggest market for Pakistani rice.

He added that the visit and this event is aimed at getting acquainted with Iran’s market and Iranian people’s taste and he believes those who have dinner in this event will be good ambassadors for promoting Pakistani rice.

Asghar went on to say that Pakistan has increased its rice export to Iran as it has increased its share of Iran’s rice market from 5 to 30 percent in recent years. He reiterated that one of the goals of this visit and holding festival is to have some B2B meetings with Iranian rice business activists and discuss the issue of barter trade.

He said that with the support of Pakistan government and Pakistan Ambassador to Tehran, both countries signed agreement for barter trade which is good news especially for REAP. He added that Pakistan’s revenues from exporting rice are around $2.5b annually. He reiterated that Pakistan has exported some $600,000m of rice to Iran and the association is trying to increase the amount of rice from 100,000 tons to one million tons annually, and implementation of the barter trade will play a key role to this end.

He reiterated some of Pakistan’s top rice exporters are accompanying him in his visit to Tehran and hailed efforts of deputy agriculture minister on international affairs Mr. Fathi.

Meanwhile Pakistan Ambassador to Tehran Mr. Rahim Hayat Qureshi, for his part, stressed the significance of growing exchanges between the private sector on both sides to strengthen bilateral economic relations between Pakistan and Iran and to reach the target of $5b in bilateral trade. He then highlighted that the Rice Festival was part of a series of activities to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Independence of Pakistan and 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations with Iran.

Then Head of Iranian Rice Importers Association Mr. Tavakoli, for his part, hailed efforts of REAP for its presence in Tehran and explained goals of Iran’s Rice Importers Association. He then pointed to the good and amicable ties of Iran and Pakistan, and pointed to ways for expansion of trade cooperation like border markers.

He went on to say that unfortunately the trade volume between Iran and Pakistan unlike their political and cultural relation is not satisfactory, stressing that but in recent years the trade volume has increased and it is now around $1.5b and according to the talks between the two countries, it has been decided this figure to increase to $5b in a five year span and then to $15b.

Tavakoli added that currently 35% of Iran’s rice import is from Pakistan and hailed Pakistan Embassy and REAP for accelerating the process for export of rice. He further said that Iran’s government and Majlis are ready to resolve problems on course to expansion of trade ties and expressed hope Pakistan government would do the same. He also expressed hope that the free trade agreement between the two states would be implemented in order that Iranians can use more Pakistani rice and in return Pakistanis would also enjoy more Iranian goods.

Deputy Agriculture Minister on International Affairs Mr. Fathi in the event welcomed the REAP delegation as chief guest on the occasion.

At the end of the event delectable Pakistani and Iranian dishes made with Pakistani long grain aromatic basmati rice were served.