KARACHI - The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has agreed to convert 600 acres land, consisting on rice milling units and godowns at Pipri near Karachi, into Rice Export Zone. Chairman TCP Saeed Ahmed Khan during his meeting with managing committee members of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) at REAP House on Tuesday accepted the offer of rice exporters body. REAP Chairman Rahim Janu, while welcoming the TCP Chairman, highlighted the importance of this food commodity in foreign exchange earnings as second largest sector in foreign trade and presented various issues being faced to rice exporters. Rahim Janu said the machinery of 18 rice milling units and rice godowns spreading around 600 acres land in Pipri, suburb of Karachi, have turned into scraps while rice godowns also not in usable condition. On behalf of REAP, he offered all possible support to convert this area into Rice Export Zone and said rice exporters are ready either to buy this land on current market value or lease out them. TCP Chairman said the tenders have been invited for repair and maintenance of the rice warehouses in Pipri that were not functional since long. Millions of rupees are required to revamp these warehouses. He pointed out that TCP will dispose off these all 18 rice mill units at Pipri area as government has no intention to keep them. He turned down the offer of REAP, saying the TCP will not sell the rice godowns while plan to lease out these godowns was under consideration. TCP Chairman welcomed the offer of REAP to convert 600 acres land into rice export zone. He said the TCP was not the rival of rice exporters so they should have not any apprehension over the intervention of TCP and Passco in rice procurement. When output of rice or any other crops come in bumper than federal government intervenes to provide the actual price of their crops, he said. He said, If government did not intervene in market to purchase rice, the growers would not get appropriate price of their crops as input prices of fertilizer, pesticides, labour charges have been increased. The rice exporters could raise objections over the purchase modalities but they should not raise objections over federal government intervention to buy rice from growers, he said adding that the TCP has stopped purchasing rice from growers. At least 0.225 m tons sugar stock is available in the warehouses of TCP while federal government has decided to import further 0.2 m tons to prevent any scarcity of white sweetener in the country, he said. Adding that the available stocks of sugar was imported at the price of Rs50 pr kg but bearing additional losses by government, the sugar being sold at Rs38 per kg on Utility Stores. TCP chairman pointed out that if govt did not import the sugar and sale it on subsidised rate, the retail price of white sweetener crossed over Rs50 per kg. Meanwhile, Chairman REAP Rahim Janu, while addressing the meeting, said that REAP has given Vision 2012 to enhance the rice export to $4 billion till 2012 from current exports of $2.2 billion. He said that out of 6.3 million tons production of rice, the local consumption is 2.4 million tons while remaining 4 million tons extra for export. He also informed that Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Saudi Arabia are the big buyers of Pakistani rice while other new markets are also waiting for rice as various delegations have planned to visit Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Senegal and other countries.