Union of Small and Medium Enterprises urges SMEDA to recommend urgent revival plan of rice sector

Karachi, September 09, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority held a special meeting yesterday at SMEDA Karachi office presided by Alamgir Chaudhry general manager (GM) out reach to discuss the issues of the rice industry and recommend measures to revive the sector on fast track basis before the arrival of new crop to facilitate the stakeholders.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver invited the attention of the GM SMEDA that the SME rice farmers, millers, processors and exporters are in turmoil and more than 1000 SME units are closed due to lack of demand from overseas buyers who have become very cautious in placing orders because of down slide in commodities. They are waiting for the prices to stabilize to place fresh orders. This lack of overseas demand is reflecting on the entire rice sector as unlike wheat, rice is an export commodity. As wheat is our staple crop but domestic rice consumption is much less than our exports and all varieties of rice are being exported to global buyers. The rice exports are next to textiles and need the immediate attention of the policy makers. There is urgent need to regain lost markets for the rice industry to survive.

Secondly our rice is become non-competitive as Indian rice is cheaper due to subsidy support from government Thirdly we have neglected research and development (R and D) on seeds to produce grains with less cost of production. The R and D side needs to be taken very seriously. Our super basmati rice which is our heritage is suffering a setback due to lack of R and D and we cannot afford to lose our share of basmati in world markets. Every aspect of basmati inclusive of packing, promotion, branding and marketing needs our immediate attention and needs immediate attention of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) on priority basis.

Other factors which are a setback are lack of finance for exports to third world countries and low premium insurance is unavailable.

The banks are not inclined to accept documents for negotiations for goods shipped to Iran and as such transactions with Iran are at a standstill. The ministry of commerce needs to work overtime to expedite the agreement with Iran and the matter needs immediate placement in the cabinet for prompt approval.

Thaver said SMEDA needs to advocate the cause of the SME millers ,processors and exporters of rice and urged the government to declare rice as an industry and grant relief on farm inputs Secondly to impress upon the government to expedite the geographical indication of rice now that the Draft GI protection bill is drafted and also to expedite the basmati trademark ownership issue Mukesh Kumar provincial chief SMEDA endorsed the views of UNISAME’s chief and Maimoona Sattar an SME expert also agreed with the suggestions of UNISAME and both expressed strong feelings for the capacity building of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and urged Thaver to work on the capacity building of REAP under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) jointly with SMEDA.

The GM SMEDA assured UNISAME of full support and promised a comprehensive recommendations proposal for the uplift of the rice sector to be submitted to the Ministry of Industries for remedial measures.

For more information, contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street,
Phase IV, D.H.A., Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-35884225-6
Fax: +92-21-35380642
Cell: +92-300-8245307, +92-321-8245307
Email: unisame@gmail.com