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Pakistan may lose UAE rice market on DNA testing move
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan may loose the UAE market for exporting its 400,000 tonnes of rice if the proposed move to make DNA testing mandatory for clearance of rice at Dubai ports.

Sources said that some UAE based millers were lobbying for promoting the UK branded DNA test to recapture their eroding market share for Basmati in Middle East following growth in export of basmati from Pakistan.

The UK DNA testing is a type of non-tariff barrier (NTBs). It was developed by UK scientists to tighten the import requirements as per their local labelling requirements, the sources said and added Pakistani officials were again ignorant as was in the case of Indian Pusa registered as Basmati in EU.

A leading rice exporter said that he had warned of this possibility and development long time back but the powers within rice exporters association of Pakistan (REAP) did not then pay heed to the warnings and instead took a short term political view on it. Now unfortunately, it is possible that within a short time, UAE could start demanding shipments that are DNA tested based on the controversial UK DNA test, he added.

Pakistan, unfortunately, despite the trader's opposition, has adopted interim measures for EU purposes. Adoption of this controversial test even as interim measure gives it the stamp of Pakistan's official approval. If this happens our exporters will face serious impediments to their exports initially to Dubai and then to the entire Middle East including Iran, the exporter warned.

The exporter said government should not accept the UK DNA testing protocol for Basmati as it was mostly based on samples of admixture unofficially and casually obtained by the UK authorities while putting together this testing protocol and therefore no testing should be done based on it as Pakistan should not accept this test.

The UK test did not include all approved basmati varieties of Pakistan and it did include informal varieties that may or not be in existence or from Pakistan. We must emphasise that an indigenous Pakistan DNA testing protocol must be developed urgently, he added.

Pakistan reserves the right for any indigenous protocol to upgrade or improve it as time passes while a foreign ill- considered and improper test means we have lost the power to control our rice quality to others who may be heavily influenced by the Indian lobby.

"Our indigenous test must be based on all approved Basmati varieties growing anywhere in Pakistan and with known approved non-Basmati varieties as adulterants/admixture", he said requesting anonymity.
MGR Archive 10.12.2006
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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