Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Russia threatens rice import ban over Pakistani phytosanitary issues

Karachi, 22 April, 2024 (GNP): Russia has alerted Pakistan that it could impose a ban on rice imports if Moscow’s phytosanitary issues are not resolved in future shipments.

This comes after Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS) identified “Megaselia scalaris (Loew)”—a quarantine organism—in a recent rice consignment from Pakistan.

In response to the April 2 notification, Pakistan’s trade representative at its embassy in Russia was instructed to conduct an immediate investigation into the matter.

Russian authorities requested the embassy to ensure that all Pakistani rice exporters comply with phytosanitary standards to maintain the safety of agricultural products traded between the two countries.

Pakistan’s trade wing in Moscow forwarded the Russian authorities’ letter to the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) in the Ministry of Food Security and other relevant government offices.

The warning from Russia is serious, as it previously imposed a ban on rice imports from Pakistan in 2019 due to health safety issues. Similar action was taken in December 2006 over food safety concerns.

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Chairman of the Pakistan Rice Exporters Association, Chela Ram Kewlani, advised Pakistani rice exporters to ensure high-quality standards in selection and packaging to avoid further complications.

This alert emerges at a time when Pakistan’s rice exports are soaring, driven by India’s 2023 ban on exporting white non-Basmati and parboiled rice, which has propelled Pakistan’s rice sales to unprecedented heights.

In December 2023, Pakistan exported 700,000 tonnes of rice, and the projections for the 2023/2024 fiscal year indicate exports exceeding five million metric tonnes, a significant jump from last year’s 3.7 million tonnes.