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PAKISTAN announced that it will export rice to Russia again on Friday (11), after being banned for two years by the Russian authorities.

The minister for national food security and research, Syed Fakhar Imam, said Russia lifted the ban on the import of rice from Pakistan that would help in a significant increase of local rice exports to Russian markets as well as penetrating other high-end markets.

Russian authorities banned the import of Pakistani rice two years ago after intersecting the khapra beetle insect in some consignments.

Imam said, “The department of plant protection and plant quarantine division, ministry of commerce in close coordination with the trade minister of the Embassy of Pakistan in Moscow, played a vital role for the resumption of local rice exports to Russian markets that was commendable.”

“Pakistan harvested bumper rice crops of over 8.4 million tons, and the resumption of rice exports to Russian markets would help in fetching additional $200 million to $300m (£164m-£246m) each year, which would benefit the local growers,” he added.

Pakistan was working with international development partners to control pests and to meet the set standards for enhancing exports to high-end markets, said Imam, adding that a comprehensive campaign was launched against locusts.