KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the attention of the ministries of commerce, industry, science and technology and agriculture to join hands for the modernisation of rice farming, milling, processing and marketing and in order to enable it to meet the global challenges.
UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver said it is very unfortunate that the rice industry, which is ranked as the second biggest after textiles, is mercilessly neglected regardless of the fact that it employs huge number of entrepreneurs from farmland to factories.
“The SME rice farmers, millers, processors, traders and exporters are in turmoil due to the step-motherly treatment of the government. The cost of production has gone high and this has made the rice industry noncompetitive. The farm inputs have become costly.
The only answer to survival is value addition, quality benchmark and entering non-traditional markets,” he added. Thaver urged the ministries of agriculture, commerce, industry and science and technology to coordinate with one another for the upliftment of the rice sector.
UNISAME, after carrying out a study of the requirements for the uplift of the sector, stated that dedicated efforts are required from grassroots level from modernisation of farming, milling, processing, packing and marketing.
The union called upon the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) under the Ministry of Industries and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) under the Ministry of Science and Technology to join hands for modernisation of the rice industry.
“It also requested from SMEDA and PCSIR to take up the issues of paddy drying, parboiling, steaming and preparation of iron and vitaminised rice and also pre-cooked rice. Various products can be made from rice flour and rice grains if PCSIR could educate the sector on increasing shelf life of the products.
PCSIR is capable of doing great work for the sector,” Thaver said. The Rice Research Institute under the Ministry of Agriculture also needs to do more and develop new varieties, as we have only a handful of varieties whereas our neighbour India has many and we need to compete in the global markets, he added.
Source: Daily Times