KARACHI: The small to medium sized rice growers, millers, processors and exporters, being badly affected by the neglect and ignorance of their issues by their respective associations, have formed a Rice Syndicate under the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) to advocate their cause with the ministries of agriculture, commerce, industry and science and technology directly.
UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver said the SMEs are frustrated with the attitude of the trade bodies that are simply not interested in advocating the cause of the growers, millers, processors and exporters of rice and have resolved to tackle their problems collectively on self help basis.
He said the Rice Syndicate has been formed by the stakeholders to give serious consideration to the issues of farmers who are unable to fetch even their cost of production due to costly farm inputs. “The millers are idle due to lack of demand from processors and exporters.
The exporters are unable to compete in global markets due to competition from India. The Rice Syndicate would bring all of them under one platform as the issues are interconnected right from the primary sector to the tertiary and services sector,” he added.
The poor supply chain, logistics, quality of insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, inefficiencies of shipping companies, costly packing materials and other issues of rice imports from India should be taken seriously, he said, adding that more than 1,000 rice units have been closed and the worst affected are the SMEs.
He said the failure of concerned group to diligently handle the geographical indications case and the basmati trade mark ownership are the factors that have led to the formation of the Rice Syndicate, which feels insecure in the hands of the vested group.
Thaver said the Rice Syndicate has unanimously selected SME Farmers Association (SMEFA) Chairman Haji Muhammad Saeed of the as its convener and the Rice Syndicate would meet regularly with the stakeholders and comprehend their issues and take up their cause with the concerned provincial and federal ministries.
SMEFA Chairman Haji Muhammad Saeed called upon the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), National Productivity Organisation (NPO) and the Engineering Development Board (EDB) to lend support to the rice industry and save it from collapse.
He also requested the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) not to ignore the SMEs in rice trade and make sincere efforts and offer marketing support to the stressed sector. He called upon the TDAP to expedite the setting up of the SME Export House shelved by the authority for no valid reason.
He emphasised the fact that TDAP is not only for the big boys but it is for all and it should not ignore the majority sector, which is the SMEs.
Source: Daily Times