Interview with Mr. Abdul Rahim Janoo — a leading businessman
Occupation: Export and import
Nature of export: Rice, grain, agro-based products
Business: Spices/sugar/wheat and by-products
Import: Milk powder/tea/rubber spices
Landlords: Property owners and giving properties on rent
Petrol pumps: Owners and operations of petrol pumps
President: Memon Leadership Forum (MLF) global
Convener: Memon Leadership Conference (MLC)
Chairman: South Zone Group (REAP); Haji Razak Janoo Memorial Trust, Karachi; Pakistan Economic Forum; Masjid Al-Razak, S.I.T.E /Masjid Al-Hamida, Super Highway/Jama Masid Haider-e-Karrar (Clifton)/Jama Masjid Mustafa (Nooriabad)/Jama Masjid Umer (Manzoor Colony)
Ex-chairman: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) from 2001-2003 and 2008-2009.
Awards: FPCCI Export Trophy Awards and Achievement Award 2015 which organised two export trophies in which Prime Minister of Pakistan and one achievement award in which President of Pakistan were chief guest, these three functions also increased revenue for FPCCI accounts.
Curtailed un-necessary expenses and made FPCCI financially strong, fair and Exhibition Committee FPCCI 2015/2016 achieved record revenue for FPCCI, which was instrumental in starting finishing work of capital office building Islamabad and completion.
Ex-Senior Vice President: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry
Ex-Vice Chairman: Pakistan Rice Board, Govt of Pakistan
Ex-President: Dhoraji Cooperative Housing Society
Member Managing: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (1999-2002)
Leader of delegations: Dubai, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, UK, US, South Africa, India, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen
Member: Federal Export Board, Govt of Pakistan
Member Committee: Karachi Club/Muslim Gymkhana
Founder Chairman: Pakistan Sri Lanka Business Council (1991-95); Pakistan Milk Powder Importer’s Association (2006-2008)
Chief Organiser: Baba Farid Free Eye Camp (the largest & most modern free eye
charity trust in Pakistan) has also done free eye camps in Azad Kashmir, Afghanistan & Bangladesh. Till February 2023 have organised 343 free laser surgery eye camps in Pakistan and abroad with 325,000 free phaco eye charity surgeries and OPD of approx 8.5 million patients.
Establishment of the world’s largest state-of-the-art operation theater for eye surgeries in Pak Pattan Sharif in the name of Mrs. Rashida Rahim Janoo, where surgery of 16 patients can be done at a time and as a token of recognition, local administrative body named a road in the name of Mrs. Rashida Rahim Janoo at Pak Pattan.
Achievements: Presented gold medal by H.E. Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan on 19/01/2020 for successfully organising three days first Memon Leadership Conference from 17 to 19 January 2020 in Karachi with worldwide representation
- Got a gold medal from the Prime Minister of Pakistan as best chairman of any association in 2003
- Got a gold medal from the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2006 for increasing rice exports by more than 550%
- Got a gold medal from the Federal Health Minister of Bangladesh in 2007 for eye charity services in Dhaka, Chittagong and Mymensingh Bangladesh
- Got gold medal from Prime Minister of Pakistan for good value export from Pakistan on 28/12/2015
- Got gold medal from President of Pakistan for bonding REAP as leader & organising 10 successful export awards – 28/12/2018
- Got gold medal from Government of Sweden on agriculture paper
- Got the highest number of votes in the Karachi Chamber elections 2000-2001 and got the highest number of votes in the Federation Chamber of Commerce election 2015
- Given the award of Maseeha by Janab Mohammad Mian Soomro, the then-acting president of Pakistan at Pak Pattan
- Appreciation Shield in International Rice Conference Singapore 2009
- Four roads are named for him two in Karachi, one each in Pak Pattan and London & fifth very soon in Gujranwala
- Led delegations to 14 countries and also has been a member of the prime minister and president of Pakistan various delegations
- On the recommendation of the then prime minister of Pakistan, led a delegation to India in 2004 and put efforts to import rice parboiled plants in Pakistan, which resulted in more value addition in Pakistani rice and ultimately rice exports of Pakistan increased with a remarkable ratio
- Due to the untiring efforts of REAP members, we have done so much for the rice trade, especially for enhancing the rice export trade which was only $300 million when I took over as chairman in 2001 and made it possible to increase upto more than $2.2 billion in my 2nd tenure in 2008-09. We also started REAP’s trade delegation to many countries of the world and hold biryani festivals which were very instrumental for the benefit of the rice trade
- Establishment of an Exclusive Rice Zone in Nooriabad. The then president of Pakistan visited my house and distributed allotment letters of Nooriabad to rice exporters in Pakistan
- Successfully organized the first Memon Leadership Conference (MLC) from 17th to 19th January 2020 attended by the elite business community of Pakistan as well as more than 100 delegates & Memon leaders from 18 countries of the world. Governor Punjab, Governor Sindh & various federal ministers were chief guests of various sessions of MLC. Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan was the chief guest in the concluding session of MLC on 19th January 2020
- On the occasion of the first Memon Leadership Conference (MLC) in January 2020, arranged to publish a historical book on the achievements and contributions of prominent Memon personalities since the creation of Pakistan in 1947
- Extended efforts to successfully organised REAP rice conference at Larkana which was attended by all stakeholders of rice trade as well as representatives of various government departments such as the agriculture department, Government of Sindh, State Bank of Pakistan, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Department of Plant Protection, PCSIR, Sindh Enterprise Development Fund etc. this conference was first of its kind and identified gaps in the rice value chain at farm level and post-harvest stage
PAGE: How would you comment on the current crop of rice?
Abdul Rahim Janoo: On average, the annual rice crop of Pakistan is approx. 8.5-9.0 million metric tons. However, this year we faced devastating floods in all provinces of Pakistan. Major damages occurred in Sindh province, where estimates of crop losses are up to 30-40%. Whereas in other provinces, we see less crop damage than in Sindh. It will result in reduced production of long-grain rice, i.e. IRRI-6 and IRRI-9 etc.
PAGE: Could you tell us about the export of rice during the current season?
Abdul Rahim Janoo: As you are aware rice production and exports are interconnected. Further, as already stated above regarding severe damage to rice crops this year particularly in Sindh, we expect a decline in rice exports as well. As per the export data issued by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, during 10 months of the current fiscal year, i.e. from July 2022 to April 2023, total rice exports are 3.134 million metric tons amounting to $1.82 billion, whereas last year in 10 months we exported 4.05 million metric tons of rice amounting to $2.05 billion. It means we are -22% in terms of quantity and -11% in terms of value.
PAGE: What is your perspective on the price of rice in the international market?
Abdul Rahim Janoo: Rice is one of the most important staple foods globally, and its price can fluctuate based on several variables. Changes in production, weather patterns, and natural disasters can impact supply, while shifts in consumer demand, population growth, and dietary patterns can affect the overall demand for rice. Additionally, trade policies, tariffs, and international agreements can impact the availability and price of rice in different markets. This year we see that due to certain reasons, the price of Pakistani rice are quite higher and not competitive in the region, whereas our competitor is capturing our traditional markets due to cheaper prices.
PAGE: Could you share your standpoint about the problems being encountered by the farmers in Sindh?
Abdul Rahim Janoo: As you are aware, farmers of Sindh province have already faced serious damages due to heavy floods and their effects and still trying to come out of the crisis. In addition, general challenges they are facing include:
- Water availability is often a major issue for farmers, particularly in regions with inadequate irrigation infrastructure or facing drought conditions.
- Soil erosion, salinization, and depletion of soil fertility can pose significant challenges for farmers. These issues can result from unsustainable agricultural practices, poor land management, or natural factors, leading to reduced crop yields and productivity.
- Limited access to credit, modern farming equipment, quality seeds, fertilizers, and other essential resources can hinder agricultural productivity and impede farmers’ ability to adopt advanced farming techniques.
- Climate change-related factors, such as erratic rainfall patterns, extreme weather events, and rising temperatures, can pose significant risks to agricultural production. Floods, cyclones, and other natural disasters can lead to crop loss and damage, affecting the livelihoods of farmers.
Insufficient access to agricultural extension services and technical support can limit farmers’ knowledge and skills in adopting modern and sustainable farming practices.