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Union of Small and Medium Enterprises invites attention of ministry of commerce to importance of rice industry and recommends ways and means to increase its efficiency

Karachi, July 11, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the attention of the ministry of commerce (MINCOM) to the importance of the rice industry and recommended ways and means to increase its efficiency and competitiveness in the face of global challenges.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said it is crucial for MINCOM to gather information and study the importance of the rice sector, the number of persons employed, their share in farming, trading and exports, and the issues/ problems being faced by the farmers, traders and exporters and prepare a comprehensive report for improving the supply chain and giving adequate relief to the sector after examining and assessing the genuine needs of the sector.

He said the rice exports have declined and many SME units have closed down which is alarming and MINCOM needs to address the issues to revive the rice industry. The energy crisis, the poor law and order, the high cost of production, high cost of finance and also no access to finance of the SME farmers and exporters and poor logistics have compelled the rice industry to slow down.

The union has recommended that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should finance the installation of alternate energy systems on subsidized mark up.

The import of alternate energy devices, generators, tractors, harvesting equipment is allowed on 0 duty.

The value adders need to be promoted and facilitated from the farm level upwards and those SMEs involved in farming, distribution, suppliers of seeds,packing material and logistics services be provided finance under pay as you earn scheme to purchase farm equipments, lease warehouses for storage, purchase quality seeds, packing materials and lease vehicles for improving logistics. The days of the bullock cart are over and farmers need financial support for modernization.

Education is very important and the farmers need guidance to adopt to global demands rather than stick to their methods. The farmers must grow the varieties which are in demand in the global market.

The union demanded the official recognition of 386 as a permissible variety and also urged the SBP to direct banks to issue Form E for exports to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries through land route to discourage smuggling and treating it as exports to enable increase in foreign exchange.

The union urged the MINCOM to give the rice exporters a free hand to compete with India and recommended the export of blended rice under brand names of the rice exporters, who would make extra efforts to build their brand image.

In India basmati and non basmati varieties are blended and exported as basmati rice and there are no restrictions of pre-shipment inspection (PSI), whereas in Pakistan the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is hindering export of blended rice as basmati rice by virtue of Quality Review Committee (QRC) which carries out PSI which blocks the exports of blended rice as basmati rice.

The QRC needs to realize the fact that scientific blending in proportions enhances the value and cooking ability of rice and there are varieties of 1121 and 386 if blended with basmati rice improves the look and cooking ability of the rice. Basmati means aroma and the aroma exist in blended rice as well due to a bigger portion of basmati in blended rice.

Since it is a matter of skill and also a matter of marketing competing brands against India who is our main competitor and we have lost our markets due to bad policy, it is high time we learn and roll up our sleeves rather than suffer decline in exports due to inability to compete stated the union in its recommendations to MINCOM.

For more information, Contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street,
Phase IV, D.H.A., Karachi, Pakistan
Phones: + 92 35884225 and 6
Cell: + 92 300 8245307 and + 92 321 8245307
Fax: + 92 35380642
Email: unisame@gmail.com

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