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Britain okays Pak rice, rejects Indian Pusa      
LAHORE,Mrach 30: British rice importers have accepted 51 varieties of Pakistani rice and rejected three Indian varieties from approved list.

Sources disclosed here on Monday that Pusa variety is the largest exported rice the world over in the name of Basmati by Indian exporters, which has been removed from the list.

A meeting of British rice importers, held on March 17, accepted all 51 varieties presented by the Rice Research Institute (RRI), Kala Shah Kaku, as ‘Basmati’.

However, DNA testing has pushed the Indian Basmati rice variety of ‘Pusa’ out of the approved list, thus decreasing competition for Pakistani produce in the British as well as European market.

Grain and Food Traders Association (GAFTA) of United Kingdom - a group of British rice importers - has accepted all 51 traditional varieties of rice while pushing at least three Indian varieties including renowned Pusa variety out of the approved varieties.

The sources said that despite frequent requests from the committee, the Indian exporters could not provide samples for DNA testing. Yet the tests of the available variety proved that Indian variety Tarori had the same feature of Pakistani variety ‘Super fine’. Similarly, Indian variety Dera Doon has the same feature of Pakistani variety Kernal.

The meeting was attended by all the stakeholders from the private sector. The sources claimed that it was a private sector’s meeting and governments of any of these three countries - UK, India and Pakistan - were not invited. Therefore, Indian government’s representatives decided not to sit in the meeting.

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) was represented by its president Barrister Syed Najaf Shah.

GAFTA Code, which would govern the import and trade of rice in UK and may be followed by the European Union (EU), will be prepared by Food Standard Agency (FSA) along with GAFTA in consultation with REAP and All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA).

Pakistan government contingent included Tariq Puri, Vice Chairman, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB); Anjum Bashir, Commercial Councillor, Pakistan High Commission, London; Muhammad Mushtaq Chaudhry, Director (RRI) Kala Shah Kaku; Zahid W. Khawaja, Brown Rice Exporter and Faisal Hassan Brown Rice Exporter from Pakistan.

The meeting considered the record produced by RRI officials and found it authentic, which lead to acceptance of 51 varieties of Land Races of Pakistan. It was decided that the varieties, for which samples had not been provided, would be removed from the list of approved varieties from 15 to 12.

It was also accepted that the varieties, of which samples had been received by FSA, would not be subject to any further inquiry and the list would become final.

In case the quantity of broken grains was to exceed 20 to 25 per cent the product would not be permitted to be called Basmati.

Inclusion of 51 heritage land races (HLR), which includes Basmati 370 and 6 other varieties Kernal Basmati, plus 5 Indian varieties including Basmati 217, Basmati 386, Deradun Type 3, Ranbir Basmati (IET 11348) and Taraori (Karnel Local, HBC-19). The said 6 varieties including Karnel Basmati are not accepted as HLR. However, it was conceded that they could parent new varieties.

We agreed to provide any further documentation required by FSA on the issue of 51 HLR.

The News International, Pakistan; Advisory Point

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