SME sector asked to focus on value addition

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has advised the SME sector to focus on value addition to overcome the set back caused due to demand supply cycles in commodities. UNISAME urged the government to roll up its sleeves to overcome the challenges as it expects very important changes in 2015 due to strategy adopted by the oil producing countries vis-a-vis one another and consequently affecting the economies of the countries and their financial turmoils. In the bargain Pakistan and other countries will be affected and need to fore plan.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the SME sector is facing lack of demand from overseas customers due to the fall in prices of commodities. The buyers are holding back orders due to uncertainty and expecting the prices to fall further. The demand supply position is causing uncertainty in the commodity market and the overall buying of commodities is affected. To overcome the situation UNISAME has advised the entrepreneurs to focus on value addition and instead of exporting produce items to add value to them and export value added products.

For example he said instead of exporting wheat they should export flour and instead of exporting cotton they should export fabric likewise in each and every produce item the entrepreneurs need to add value.

UNISAME has announced a list of items of vegetables, fruits, grains and dry fruits, cotton, leather and even dairy products and livestock where forced selling could be avoided and holding back and selling with value addition recommended. The SME sector can play a very important role in value addition and the government needs to recognize the fact and promote the sector and prepare it for the challenge.

Thaver urged the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to take this as a challenge and without loss of time set up dehydration plants for vegetables and fruits, cold storage for all kinds of meat, processing units for leather, conversion units for cotton into yarn and yarn into fabric and fabric into apparel. The TDAP could use its export development funds (EDF) for the purpose of promoting value addition and this would be its best use.

The TDAP needs to co-ordinate with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), the Engineering Development Board (EDB), the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) and set up a value addition bureau and consider each and every produce item where value could be added and promote value addition activity from grass root level.

Thaver lamented that instead of exporting products made from potatoes the government is thinking of exporting potatoes and similarly the government is looking for short cuts.

The government needs to do serious planning and build storage capacities for wheat, rice, maize, vegetables and fruits. Also it needs to promote poultry, fish and livestock breeding on war footings.

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