GUJRAT-A workshop on prevention of maximum residue limits of pesticide and aflatoxins in rice was held on Thursday in Gujrat. This is the 4th workshop of the series of 6 workshops organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan in collaboration with ITC-ReMIT, Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and Punjab Agricultural Department.
The workshop was attended by the agricultural officials of Punjab government working in rice growing areas of districts Gujrat, Wazirabad, Hafizabad and Mandi Bahuddin. TDAP officials, REAP members and progressive farmers also attended the program.
Irfanullah Warriach, Director, Agricultutal Extension, welcomed the guests and participants who came from different regions to attend the workshop. He informed that his department has taken a serious note on the issues of pesticide residues in rice and the field officials have been informed to educate the farmers on the safe use of pesticides.
REAP representative Adnan Aslam described in depth the problems exporters are facing due to aflatoxins and pesticide residues especially in European Union. He stressed that necessary controls are to be implemented for the management of pesticide residues and aflatoxins through training of farmers. He informed that in the previous meetings REAP has already offered to pay a premium paddy price to growers that will comply to international standards of aflatoxin and pesticide residues. He thanked the Ministry of Commerce, TDAP, ITC-ReMIT and FCDO for their active support.
Dr Mubarik Ahmed gave detailed technical presentations on management of pesticide residues and aflatoxin. He informed that first series of such seminars were arranged in 2021 by TDAP and ITC-ReMIT that laid a significant impact in reducing the number of interceptions due to pesticide residues during 2022. However during 2023 the number of interceptions have again gone up. This year so far 25 interceptions have been reported including 13 due to pesticide residues and 9 due to aflatoxins. He stressed: “If this issue is not taken seriously our exports to EU will be badly affected due to their very strong legislation on food safety.”
Dr Ahmed explained in depth the causes of the occurrence of this problem and discussed the preventive and corrective measures that can be adopted to manage the issue. He stressed that Agricultural Officers should ensure that best practices are followed in rice production and postharvest management and advocated the judiciary use of pesticides keeping in view the international food safety requirements. He appreciated the good work done by Punjab government and stressed to continue the same.
In the end, Mohammad Asad Bhatti, Senior Vice President, Gujrat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, thanked the participants and advocated to ensure judiciary use of pesticides so as to comply with international trade requirements.