KARACHI - The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (Unisame) has invited attention of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) towards disabling of small to medium sized rice exporters due to defective policy of interference by Quality Review Committee (QRC) and urged the authority to examine the aspects and take positive measures to put the SME rice exporters back on track before the arrival of the new crop.  The SME rice exporters are hoping that the TDAP will recognise the fact that the SMEs play an important role in value addition of basmati and non basmati rice and need to function smoothly without hindrance from QRC who does not know the importance of brand promotion and lacks the commercial angle and marketing wisdom.

President Unisame Zulfikar Thaver said that the rice export business is now in the hands of big exporters and SME rice exporters have been virtually eliminated gradually over a period of time. The big exporters enjoy financing and are in a position to purchase rice on arrival of the new crop and due to their heavy buying the prices then rise beyond the affordable line of the SMEs who buy in small quantities regularly due to financial constraints.

He said the 385 variety basmati rice is not grown any more in Punjab and the size of the basmati D 98 variety crop is now much reduced.  The growers in Sindh have grown more of super basmati rice and less of Irri 6 but fortunately the yield per acre of Irri 6 has increased and there will be sufficient quantity for exports. Overall the size of the crop in Sindh will show an increase by about 10pc. He pointed out that due to floods in Punjab it is expected that the crop size will be lower by about 20pc but since the exports of basmati have fallen substantially the demand is less and the shortfall in crop will not cause any difficulties. It is expected that after a gap of almost 2 years parboiled rice factories in Sindh will start functioning again and brighten the prospects for exports.

In view of the prospects Unisame has urged the TDAP to act wisely and support the SME rice exporters by removing hindrances and promoting the SMEs to establish their brands and process the varieties according to the requirements of the buyers without hurdles.