Black rice makes its way to Pakistan – The Express Tribune

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New variety can fetch three times higher export revenue, says grower
The government’s export promotion policies are bearing fruit as businessmen are looking forward to diversifying their exports and introducing new varieties of products.
An ancient Chinese royal food – black rice – has made its way to Pakistan and it has the potential to fetch three times greater export revenue for the country. These are the views of a grower, Rehan Khoso, who has successfully cultivated this rice variety in Jacobabad – the border area of Sindh and Balochistan – after conducting prior research.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, he mentioned that this variety of rice, being a royal food, was once forbidden for the common people.
Underlining the health benefits of the variety, he explained that black rice contained 28 antioxidants. He was of the view that the variety had a huge export potential, as India had been exporting this type of rice on a large scale since 2017.
“Rice is the second biggest export product of Pakistan after textile,” he underlined and sought government’s support to exploit the full potential of the new variety and fetch foreign exchange.
“As of now, Pakistan does not have a full-fledged domestic market for black rice and it takes a lot of effort and money for export,” he said.
“The basic thing is to get seeds to the farmers and they will grow it by themselves as hybrid varieties are getting popular here,” Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Mahmood Nawaz Shah told The Express Tribune. “Although these seeds are more expensive and untested, they are increasingly becoming popular now owing to their high-yielding capability,” he underlined. “There is no doubt that if the government supports this new variety of rice, it will fetch significant export revenue for Pakistan,” noted Agriculture Republic Co-founder Aamer Hayat Bhandara.
He was of the view that black rice had a huge demand in the international market. “Thus, Pakistan has a massive export potential if this variety is cultivated successfully across the country.”
The government should scale up the research platforms and link them with farmers to get the desired results, he suggested. “We must opt for hybrid crop varieties due to their robust demand in global markets,” he stressed, adding that such varieties would support the farmers, exporters and government in terms of revenue.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2022.
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