Chairman Pakistan Hi Tech Hybrid Rice Association (PHHSA) Shahzad Ali Malik Tuesday said that despite climatic damage to major crops such as cotton and wheat, most of the rice crop has remained unhurt by flood devastation. Talking to a delegation of progressive farmers led by Momin Ali here today he said It is really a blessing that the cash crop of rice has survived the onslaught of floods and can fetch a substantial amount in export earnings, while most of the other summer crops were destroyed. Despite the floods and various other challenges being faced by the economy, exporters are gearing up for rice shipments as much as possible.” About flood damage, he said Punjab’s rice belt remained nearly unscathed. He said Sindh too had a similar rich crop but unfortunately it was partly wiped off.He brushed aside the rumours on social media that Pakistan should ban rice exports as the crop had been totally damaged. “No iota of truth in such baseless news. The varieties we export are not consumed locally, as those are used in feed mills only. Therefore, the ban is not required at all,” he emphasised. PHHSA Chief Shahzad Ali Malik pointed out that there was a surplus stock of Basmati and non-Basmati varietiesas well as maize. He said rice of production has increased due to use of quality seeds as farmers are using hybrid seeds that produce good quality rice and increase output. He said the Governor Punjab Eng Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman has felicitated the Guard Agricultural Research and Services for evolving two new more best quality varieties of rice in private sector for help boosting cash crop production in the country besides earning direly needed foreign exchange. He said Punjab Seed Council after successful completion of thorough process approved ” Open Pollinated” extra long grain rice varieties Guard 101 and Guard 102 that ensures 20-25 percent higher per acre yield with maturity within 90 days of sowing.He said new varieties are beneficial for the country due to high exports potential and attractive for farmers due to the low cost and higher per acre yield. Shahzad Ali Malik said “we have been engaged in rice seed research since 1989 in collaboration with Chinese in private sector without any government support” and contributing lots for the country. He said we have already successfully developed 5-Hi tech Hybrid rice seeds varieties which suit to our climate and giving better production. He said we along with rice, are also conducting research and development on cotton and wheat Hybrid seeds in collaboration with Chinese academic institutes and hoped to make a breakthrough.