Rice conference in Larkana next week

KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan is organising a two-day conference in Larkana next week for awareness of farmers to reduce quantity of broken rice.

Safder Hussain Mehkri, chairman, REAP, briefed reporters on Tuesday that the country lost around Rs0.5 billion annually because of the broken rice. “Though, there is no concrete data on it, around 15 percent crop is wasted during harvesting,” he said.

The conference would be held from November 26-27 in Larkana. The purpose of it was to increase awareness among farmers, so that the damage was reduced, he said. “Our prime objective is to sit with the value chain partners to improve through smaller effects.”

He said government provides huge subsidy to farmers through fertiliser but we waste it, as the crop gets damaged.

“Either a farmer harvests immature paddy because of higher prices in the market or it is harvested early because of arrival of harvesting machine in the nearby farm, and the farmer wants to reduce the harvesting cost,” he said. “On war footing, we need to protect this wastage.”

He said rice and sugarcane crops were cultivated through flood irrigation in Pakistan, while the US was using drip irrigation and other latest forms of technology to stop water wastage.

He said more than 60 percent of the rice production was exported, as it was not a staple food in Pakistan. Recently, Sindh Agriculture policy was announced, but no stakeholder was informed about it.