ISLAMABAD - While some quarters were struggling to get eliminated the minimum export price condition on rice that was set by the government, farmers want the (MEP) to remain imposed as that was giving them shelter from exporters exploitation. Government had announced the minimum export price for the basmati rice at $1500 per ton and lesser than the said price they were not allowed to sell their product in the international market. The exporters were trying to get eliminated the MEP condition from rice but government should not take its decision back, farmers insist. The minimum export price (MEP) for the rice was not affecting the farmers and removal of MEP would rather bring harm to the farmers as there coming crop of rice would not be sold on rational price and they would be exploited by the industrialist, TheNation reliably learnt. This was all the propaganda of the rice millers and the exporters that the MEP was a hurdle in the export of rice and that would affect the local farmers and they would get the lesser price of their coming crop, Hamid Malhi, Chairman Basmati Growers Association (BGA), said. "MEP has stabilised the rice prices in the market and now the exporters have no excuse for offering lesser price to farmers of their produce", he said. He also said that BGA was motivating the rice growers not to sell their crop (paddy) less than Rs 1500 per 40 kilogram. According to official sources, the decision was made to save farmers from the industrialist's atrocities as they earlier used to buy the product (rice) from the farmer on much cheaper rates as compared to the price they get from the international buyers. This decision of the government make it clear that if the exporter wants to procure rice from the open market means he must have an international buyer ready to purchase the product on government's announced minimum price or higher than that. So that the farmer also reserves the right to enjoy the trickle down effect of the government decision, he added. Basmati rice was being sold at Rs 3200 to 3400 per 40 kg a week earlier and presently a Rs 200 per 40 kg decrease in the price of basmati rice was witnessed. Market sources said that this decrease in the price was all due to trader's propaganda as they were painting the picture that rice was likely to give the record production this year so that the price of the product would fall down in the local market. Internationally the exporters were getting an average price of $ 1650 per ton, which was higher than the minimum export price set by the government. So he said that in a sense the MEP set by government was not affecting the exporter or trader's interests which was totally against their claim that it was not possible for them to carry on their business activities (export of rice) on the said price so it was also not likely to damage the interests of the farmer. Ibrahim Mughal, President Agri Forum Pakistan, said that certain quarters were wrongfully pushing government to eliminate MEP from the export of rice and reason behind their struggle was their vested interest as they wanted to fleece the farmers on the time of new coming crop of rice by offering farmers lesser price of their produce.