KARACHI : President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda has expressed deep concern over the unnecessary hindrances being created by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) in smooth clearance of consignments of various commodities including pulses. While referring to a meeting with a delegation from Pakistan Pulses Importers Association (PPIA) held recently to discuss this particular issue, president KCCI pointed out that although the relevant importers had been supplying these commodities without any trouble since last many years but during the last one-and-a-half years, DPP has started demanding to produce the Phyto-sanitary certificate in which non-GMO (genetically modified crop) must be mentioned.  “It is purely an unjust demand as the Pakistan Plant Quarantine Act 1976 and Pakistan Quarantine Rules 1967 remain silent about the Non-GMO requirement”, he added.

He said that Pakistan, despite being an agricultural country, has been importing pulses and other commodities since past many years due to excessive demand of these commodities and limited local production yet the importers, instead of being appreciated for ensuring smooth supply of essential commodities in the local markets, were being penalized by creating such hurdles.

With a view to provide relief, Junaid Makda sought necessary amendments or some kind of a clarification from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

He was of the view that Quarantine Departments of the exporting countries should be advised to write Non-GMO in the phyto-sanitary certificates as it has been observed that only a few countries mention Non-GMO in phyto-sanitary certificates while many others simply do not mention Non-GMO in the said certificate, making it difficult for Pakistani importers to fulfill this condition laid down by DPP operating under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

While stressing the government to take immediate steps to resolve this issue, Junaid Makda suggested that until the relevant regulations are not amended and streamlined, the importers of numerous commodities should be allowed to continue importing on previous terms and conditions up to December 2018. “Meanwhile, the Quarantine Departments of the exporting countries should also be requested to clearly mention Non-GMO in phyto-sanitary certificates and if they fail to do so, the importers should not be held responsible for someone else’s incompetence and inefficiency”, he added.