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Russia Issues Warning to Pakistan Over Rice Imports Due to Phytosanitary Concerns


Russia issues a warning to pakistan

In a significant development that could impact international trade relations, Russia has warned Pakistan that it might ban rice imports from the country following the detection of a quarantine organism in a recent shipment. The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS) identified the organism as Megaselia scalaris (Loew) in a consignment of rice, sparking concerns over the phytosanitary standards maintained by Pakistani exporters.


The detection of this quarantine organism in the shipment, as announced on April 2, has prompted urgent actions from both sides. The Pakistani trade representative in Russia has been directed to launch a thorough investigation into the incident. Furthermore, Russian authorities have reached out to the Pakistan embassy, urging immediate preventive measures to curb such violations and ensure compliance with the stringent phytosanitary regulations that govern the safe exchange of agricultural products.


This is not the first time Russia has expressed concerns over the quality of imported rice from Pakistan. In 2019, Russian authorities imposed a ban on rice imports from Pakistan due to similar health safety concerns. A prior incident in December 2006 also saw a suspension of imports when Pakistani rice failed to meet the required food safety standards.

Chela Ram Kewlani, Chairman of the Pakistan Rice Exporters Association, highlighted the need for Pakistani rice exporters to adhere strictly to selection and packaging standards to prevent such issues. He pointed out the strategic advantage Pakistan gained after India imposed a ban on non-Basmati rice exports last year, which had a significant ripple effect on the global rice market.


Despite the current challenges, the outlook for Pakistani rice exports remains optimistic. In December 2023, Pakistan exported approximately 700,000 tonnes of rice, indicating a surge in production and global demand that has also been reflected in rising global prices. The Rice Export Corporation is aiming high for the fiscal year 2023-24, targeting over five million metric tonnes in total rice exports, a substantial increase from the previous year’s exports of 3.7 million tonnes.


As the situation unfolds, the international community is closely watching the actions that Pakistan will undertake to address these concerns. The potential ban could have far-reaching implications for Pakistan’s economy, particularly its agricultural sector, which is a significant contributor to its GDP. The resolution of these phytosanitary issues will be crucial for maintaining healthy trade relations between Russia and Pakistan.

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