Lahore, October 21, 2015 (PPI-OT): Mr. Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry, Chief Executive Officer of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has expressed satisfaction on successful completion of the “Red Chillies Processing Center, Kunri by SMEDA and hoped to run the regular operation at the Center by December next. Arriving back after witnessing trial run of the center, he said that the center would be the first of its kind in the country for providing mechanical dehydration faculties to local growers, traders and exporters of red Chilies.
Giving background of the project, CEO SMEDA said that Pakistan being an agriculture country possesses a number of potential agro-based industries, therefore, the SMEDA while developing sectoral development strategies gives special importance to post-harvest processing of the agricultural produces that has been observed as a major missing link in development of the agro-based SMEs.
The lack of modern post-harvest facilities is causing wastage of over 30-40% agricultural crops in the country and same is the case with Red Chilies crop 83% of which is produced in Sindh, CEO SMEDA said adding that that over 40% of the red chilies production is being wasted in the country due to unavailability of the mechanical dehydration facility and a major portion of the rest to be dehydrated manually was found contaminated with “Aflatoxin”, a chemical harmful to human life.
He said that the Red Chili Processing Center, set up in Kunri town near Umerkote had resolved all such issues and as a successful demonstration project, it will also pave way for establishment of the similar projects in the private sector. He was confident the operation of SMEDA project in Kunri will not only enhance the profitability of local growers and traders, but will also increase the export of red chilies by meeting the international processing standards.
The project was developed to introduce mechanical dehydration of Red chilies so as to improve quality of dried chilies for export purpose and also increase profitability of chili farmers in the domestic trade by minimizing wastage during monsoon season, he said. He informed that the input capacity of the center is 30 tones of red chilies per day for which about 14 people have been hired directly by the project in various departments supported by around 30-70 helpers on daily wages to run operation of the project.
The facility is equipped with a conveyor based dehydration system i.e. a multi story belt dryer using thermic oil, fired by coal, he said and informed that the commissioning of plant machinery and equipment was completed in June 2015 and the trial run is currently in progress. Now, the Federal Minister Industries Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi has been requested to give time for inauguration of the center as per his convenience, he added.
It is notable that the center shall also be used by local growers and traders to get other agricultural products like Onions and Garlic dehydrated in the off-season. The CEO SMEDA, during his visit to the center, also met with the President, Red Chili Grower’s Association and assured him of the continued support and facilitation from SMEDA.
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Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA)
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