ISLAMABAD (APP) - Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal on Monday said that government would introduce modern technologies for the sowing, purchasing and trading of rice to enhance its productivity and export. Chairing a meeting of Rice Advisory Board here, he said that government will devise ways to protect the rice growers and safeguard the revenue-earning commodity of the country. Pakistan exports rice worth US$ 2 billion annually, he said that commodity earned handsome foreign exchange for the country. The farmers in the country would be facilitated on all levels and their exploitation at the hands of middlemen to be ended, he added. The minister said that Pakistan is producing best quality of basmati rice and unapproved varieties would be discouraged as they may cause harm to genuine basmati. Farmers efficiency and productivity can be ensured only by increasing guarantee prices for their crops which are compatible to the international prices, he added. He said that government intervention was must to safeguard the interests of the farmers, as the small farmers do not have the capacity and resources to process and hold on paddy after the harvesting season. The minister said that poor farmers would not be left at the mercy of the exploiters at any cost. The minister listened to the views of all the stakeholder and concluded that their suggestions will be incorporated in the proposed model/policy to be presented to ECC for approval. He also instructed PARC to approve 2 or 3 varieties of hybrid rice only that are compatible to the local environment. The meeting discussed certain models for the procurement and trading of rice that would be adopted for the coming crop of rice. The meeting was attended by the representative of Ministry of Commerce, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), PASSCO, provincial agriculture secretaries, secretary and other senior officials of MinFA.