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INDUSTRY

Jan-14 - 20, 2002

Agriculture export zone being set up in Sindh

Sindh government is setting up agriculture export zone, which would be first of its kind in entire region of South Asia, and a piece of land next to new Sebzi Mandi (new vegetable market) has been already acquired for this project.

This was stated by provincial minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Social Welfare, Hasan Ali Chanhio while speaking in Bilmushafa programme of Radio Pakistan, Karachi on Thursday.

He said the provincial government had hired the services of a Spanish consultant for developing the project, which was going to be announced on 15th of this month.

Along with this zone, the Sindh government, he said, would also be setting up Export Crop Estates in all the districts of the province where only those crops would be cultivated, which were to be exported.

Responding to a question, Hasan Ali Chanhio said in principle the federal government has agreed to hand over one of the three idle terminal at Karachi airport for air-lifting of perishable goods but final decision had to be made.

He said Sindh province could excel in export of fruits and vegetables particularly mangoes, dates, guava, and, to achieve this goal, different management groups for each crop had been established.

Hasan Ali Chanhio said Pakistan is blessed with unlimited natural resources that could be used as 'economic weapon'. "And the agriculture is the biggest weapon of this country."

On changing market strategy from retail to institutional sales, he said, the country this year earned $17 million on export of mangoes compared to $7 million a year ago.

Despite acute shortage of irrigation water, the Sindh province had good agriculture production last year, particularly of sugarcane, cotton, wheat as well as rice.

140 sick unit owners refused relief

The sponsors and owners of more than 140 sick industrial units have failed to convince the private sector dominated Committee for Revival of Sick Industrial Units to get their loans restructured and rescheduled and they have been refused any relief.

"May be many of them could be given rescheduling relief for revival, but only after the change of the management's," a well-placed banker, associated with the revival of sick industrial units, told Dawn on Wednesday.

The committee with an overwhelming majority membership drawn from the private sector is meeting in the city again on Friday and Saturday to discuss about a dozen more cases.

Cotton crop size estimated

Cotton crop size this season has been assessed at 10.4 million bales ex-farm by the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC).

The meeting was held on Monday at the PCCC. It was chaired by M Shafi Niaz, adviser to the chief executive on food, agriculture and livestock and attended by the officials of concerned public and private sector organizations.

Taking stock of the situation and the assessment made by the provincial governments as well as other stakeholders, the committee unanimously agreed to a possible crop size of 10.4m bales on ex-farm basis this season with Punjab producing around 8.1 million bales, Sindh 2.2m and Balochistan 0.1 million bales.

35pc looms closed down

Over 35 per cent power looms factories and other textile ancillary units have been closed down in the city and its adjoining industrial areas owing to continuous recession and escalating tariff of utility services rendering thousands of labourers jobless.

A survey on Monday showed that majority of the powerloom factories, and units of dying, calendaring, printing finishing, sizing and hosiery manufacturing factories situated in Faizabad, Ghulam Muhammadabad, Dogranwan Road, Maqbool Road, Canal Road, Sohailabad, Sadhar, Kokianwala, Baowala and other areas had been closed down by their owners on the pretext that they were not in a position to run their business due to serious recession in the market especially after Sept 11 incident.

Deal signed for oil, gas search

The federal government has signed an agreement with Nawab Akbar Bugti according to which he would ensure security of oil and gas exploration activities in Balochistan as well as protection to the existing oil and gas installations.

This is the first stage in the efforts for bringing to an end a long period of uncertainty and inactivity as regards the exploration of oil and gas in the province.

Wheat target

The wheat production target set at 20 million tons for the current Rabi crop may not be achieved if the rains do not fall according to the met office predictions , official sources in the ministry of food and agriculture told Dawn on Saturday.

These sources, however, refused to give exact impact when pressed to underline the likely decline in the wheat production. They said even if the production target, as set by Minfal, declined, the overall impact would be minimal due to the surplus stocks that the country already had.

230 flour mills close down

Ninety per cent flour mills in the NWFP have closed down as a result of the government's policy of deregulation of wheat business.

As many as 230 flour mills, out of a total of 250 functioning in the province, have closed down due to deregulation of wheat procurement which unleashed cruel market forces rendering those lacking efficiency uncompetitive.

The flour mills installed in the NWFP were far in excess of the total requirement of the province, Minister for Food and Agriculture Khair Muhammad Junejo told.

BD pharma firm

A Bangladeshi firm, Square Pharmaceuticals, is setting up its plant here at a cost of Rs100 million. "This is going to be first ever investment in Pakistan's industrial sector by any Bangladeshi firm," Honorary Consul- General of Bangladesh, Qazi Humayun Farid told a news conference here on Monday.