FAISALABAD: Pakistan must further reduce Minimum Residue Levels (MRL) in rice crop to maintain its share in global markets, said Chaudhry Talat Mahmood, Senior Vice President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI). He was addressing a seminar on the “Importance of MRL of pesticides in rice in global markets” here. It was jointly organized by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), UK-aid and International Trade Centre. He said that Pakistan was included in the top ten rice exporting countries and we must maintain this position as the West and EU further tightened the food safety measures. He highlighted that our growers generally use excessive pesticides to get maximum per acre yield but due to the excessive use of pesticides, its residue level remains active till its consumption. He said that ideally minimum pesticides could be used so that its ill impacts could be eliminated before its cooking. The SVP suggested that the government could initiate a regular survey to monitor pesticides residues in agriculture products to ensure uninterrupted export of this important commodity. Similarly, the federal and provincial pesticides residue testing laboratories should be strengthened in addition to educating the farmers for the implementation of integrated pest management approach and appropriate use of pesticides. “It is imperative to protect Pakistan’s rice exports and order the farmers to initiate the determination of Pre-Harvest Interval (PHI) under local conditions”, he said and added that at least two pesticides residue testing laboratories should be set up immediately in Islamabad and Karachi. He thanked TDAP for arranging this important seminar in FCCI and hoped that it will help local growers and exporters to improve the quality of exportable rice. Later, Director TDAP Faisalabad Allah Dad Tarar along with Senior Vice President Chaudhary Talat Mahmood distributed certificates among the participants of the seminar. On the occasion,Dr. Syed Tauqir Shah National Project Coordinator ITC-ReMIT, Muhammad Shoaib Zafar Adviser Trade Policy, Dr. Mubarak Ahmad, Director General Punjab Agriculture Department and Ali Narang and a large number of rice growers and exporters were present.