Lahore, January 11, 2021 (PPI-OT): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Hashim Raza and Nadia Jehangir Seth general manager policy and planning to upgrade the jaggery industry as most of the units are owned by SMEs.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the SMEs expect SMEDA will advocate their cause as the sugar mafia is pressurizing the government not to recognize the jaggery units and trying its best to discourage SME cane growers from using their own produce and marketing it through wholesalers. The SME farmers are disappointed with the sugar millers who manipulate and first frustrate the growers and buy the canes after compelling them to reduce prices and secondly do not pay them in time which compels the farmers to make jaggery till such time the crop is lifted by the millers to survive in the interval period.
Nevertheless there is ample demand both at home and global markets for jaggery and the government must review the sugarcane act to incorporate jaggery making and allowing exports. The government must allow import of automatic machines without duty and upgrade the units. Thaver said in neighbouring countries it is manufactured on automatic machines but in Pakistan it is made manually in an orthodox manner.
The export is banned therefore it is being smuggled to Afghanistan and Iran and also shipped illegally in containers of food items to gulf and middle eastern countries. Jaggery (Gur) is also much liked in Pakistan and many sweet items are made of it and much liked by many. Zain Khandwalla a merchant representing the SME jaggery manufacturers said this industry has a lot of potential for exports and since it is made of indigenous sugarcane it must be developed and promoted.
Haji Muhammad Saeed chairman of SME Farmers Association (SMEFA) said the jaggery manufacturers in order to be recognized must stop using chemicals to whiten the product as it is harmful and requested SMEDA to educate them to make jaggery without using such chemicals. However he said the Peshawari gur is the best and known for its superior quality. In Liaqatpur market in Rahimyar Khan there is a very big market which caters to the requirements of the whole country.
UNISAME council members also endorsed the views of the participants and said if the jaggery making units are upgraded it will be a blessing for several SMEs who are keen to make jaggery items and market it globally. In fact the Peshawari gur is a geographical indication (GI) item and deserves a GI tag said the representatives of the processors.
For more information, contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street, Phase IV, D.H.A.,
Cell: +92-300-8245307, +92-321-8245307