Taste of Pakistani biryani hits Morocco
RABAT: Pakistan Embassy in the Kingdom of Morocco in association with Pakistan Morocco Joint Business Council (PMJBC) organised a biryani festival in Rabat in order promote Pakistani rice, spices and a softer image of Pakistan as a tourist destination.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Morocco Hamid Asghar Khan hosted the festival and welcomed dignitaries and businessmen from both Pakistan and Morocco at the festival.
Ishtiaq Baig, Honorary Consul General of Morocco and Chairman Pak Morocco Joint Business Council, headed a delegation of 25 leading businessmen from Karachi for the festival.
The festival was attended by the vice-chairman of the Moroccan Parliament, members of the National Assembly and locals were among the 300 guests at the colourful festival. Rice buyers, restaurant and hotel operators were also among the guests.
Pakistani chef Gulzar Hussain and his team flew specially from Karachi to cook biryani for the guests. The guests were served with four different types of biryanis which included prawn biryani, mutton biryani, vegetable biryani and chicken biryani.
The well-attended festival was the first event after the launch of Engage Africa Policy announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan at a conference in Islamabad last week.
Ambassador Khan explained that the event was a perfect example of the government facilitating the private sector and engaging proactively in trade diplomacy as per the government vision and directions of the Foreign Minister. He added, “Moroccans are not traditionally a rice-eating nation but there is growing interest in rice. Several Asian restaurants have recently opened up.”
“Pakistan needs to swiftly turn to Africa and tap the African regional markets. This festival is part of PM’s vision of promoting trade and exports. Countries like Morocco offer huge Opportunities if access to the common African market of 1.3 billion people, with the right kind of approach sky is the limit in these countries,” he added.
The biryani festival was the brainchild of Mirza Ishtiaq Baig who put in a lot of effort in organising it and arranging the logistics. He said that biryani is now mainly popular in India and Pakistan regions but Mughals and Arabs brought biryani to the north and south of India respectively and from there it branched out.
He said that the historical perspective is important because there is a growing market of rice and biryani has become the important component when it comes to the export of rice from Pakistan. He shared that in Pakistan more than 40 different types of biryani are cooked and in Arab-African countries like Morocco the demand for it is growing due to expanding cultural and business ties.
Baig said that the festival provided a great opportunity for the Karachi business delegates to meet businessmen from Morocco over the course of three days during which future business opportunities were explored. He said import of Pakistani rice and other products will help increase rice exports as well as other industries.
Baig said that Morocco — which has a population of 35 million people — is an important market to expand into as well as a gateway into Africa and the present govt is taking steps to reach out to the unexplored markets.