Sindh’s parboiled rice industry was at the verge of collapse as some 80 per cent of parboiled units were closed due to energy crisis and high cost of doing business. It was learnt on Friday. “The manufacturers had invested a huge amount for the imports of these modern plants during last 10 years, but the government’s negligence has led to the closure of some 160 rice making units out of 200 in the province during last two year’s period,” industry sources said.
While talking to Business Recorder, they said, due to prolong load shedding, the manufactures had established generators in their plants but these were also not favorable for the industry because the cost of production had gone very high. The price of paddy was also gone up due to costly farm inputs, resultantly the millers had to remove the husk and make white rice rather than make parboiled rice. They pointed out that continuous closure of units in the province would ultimately ruin whole rice industry, and it would badly affect the country’s total exports volume, if the issues would not solve on emergency bases, therefore, government should come forward with a view to curb the challenges faced by the industry.
They also urged the federal commerce minister to take measures to revive the parboiled rice industry in Sindh by removing withholding tax and giving subsidy for reducing the cost of production to make it profitable. They also informed that many parboilers of Punjab regularly purchase the paddy from Sindh and parboil the rice in their plants because they have got modern machinery for parboiling and comparatively a business-friendly environment for business.
Sources further said that despite all persisting facts, the parboilers need to maintain quality and ensure standards of paddy drying and moisture control systems. They have also advised the processors to electronically sort the parboiled rice to eliminate the black grains and polish the rice and pack the grains in attractive packing for super store chains. “I had purchased a parboiled unit worth Rs 20 million from India in 2004 but, it did not return me due to continuous closure for last couple of years, said a parboiled rice manufacturer.
Another parboiled rice manufacturer told that due to the lack of quality control system, and government’s negligence a large number of manufacturers have shut down their plants. He said India’s rice exports to Saudi Arabia were ten times more than Pakistan. It was useless approach the government regarding the persisting issues of the industry; they seemed unaware of industry issues, he accused the government.