KARACHI -The country has earned $2.265 billion dollars from rice exports during outgoing FY2009-10 against $2.044 billion dollars of last fiscal year 2008-09, up by 15 per cent. However, a huge increase of 57 per cent witnessed in the exports of rice in quantity terms as 4.607m tons rice were exported during outgoing financial year against 2.930 million tons of last previous year. During press conference at REAP office in Karachi on Monday, the chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Malik Muhammad Jehangir, who was flanked with former chairman of REAP Abdul Rahim Janoo, vice president Shafique Suleman and other office bearers of body, unveiled the data of rice exports. He said that Pakistani exporters succeeded in reaching new markets of world as commodity was exported to 109 countries during FY09/10 against merely 76 countries during FY2008-09. In variety terms, the country earned $1.399b through exporting 3.557m tons Non-basmati rice, while foreign exchange earnings risen to $866.659m, exporting 1.050m tons during outgoing financial year, he said. REAP chairman termed the earnings of $2.265b from rice exports as big achievement, which were only $300m 9 years back in 2001, and regretting that govt has not fulfilled its promises to give extra incentives to the rice exporters. He said that Pakistani commodity received average rate of $853 per ton basmati rice and $393 for non-basmati rice during outgoing financial year. REAP chief further said that trade mark of Pakistani and Indian basmati rice has been registered jointly in international market trade mark has been registered. He pointed out that at least 500 varieties of rice have been introduced in India, but despite spending over Rs100m annually, not a single variety has been introduced by Rice Research Council since last 15 years. The rice exporters predicted the shortfall in rice production in country during this season due to water shortage in Sindh, which may badly affect the rice exports. Sharing the difficulties in furthering exports of rice, he said that 1.5pc withholding tax on purchasing of rice in local market hurting the exports of commodity. He reminded that CBR chairman had promised to review and reduce the withholding tax, but no relief has been given to rice exporters in reducing the withholding tax to 1pc, so far. Terming the higher markup rate of 9.5pc on rice financing second problems for rice sector, REAP said that government had promised to reduce it from existing rate of 9.5% to 5 per cent, equaling for textile sector, but no any relief announced by govt, so far. The third problem was energy crisis which hurting overall economy especially delaying in rice processing, besides increasing cost of exports and production, he said, adding that government is not allowing to rice exporters for establishment of power units for self generation of electricity. Criticizing over government for not importing cheap electricity from neighbouring Iran and China, he said that both countries are ready to supply electricity on lesser tariff than other sources. The rice exporters demanded that Government should not intervene itself into purchasing of rice paddy from growers.