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Sufficient potential to set-up agro/agro waste industry in Sindh.

This analysis leads to the conclusion that the availability of rice and wheat straw in Sindh and its major districts is sufficient to set up a paper, paper board, straw board, chipboard, hard board etc. manufacturing plant. However, the availability of Eucalyptus is not sufficient to base the plant on this single source of raw material. The use of Eucalyptus as a raw material mix along with rice and wheat straw can be considered.

There are a large number of industries that require different agricultural waste which contains cellulose fibres. These raw materials are: (i) Wheat Straw, (ii) Rice Straw and (iii) Grasses. Pakistan is rich in rice and wheat crops whose straw could be utilized for the production of Paper Board, straw board, chipboard etc. Besides, the 10 million tonnes bagasse produced annually by sugar mills is also a potential raw material for different industrial products. However, for the purpose of assessing viability of different agro waste, the availability of Rice Straw, Wheat Straw and the Eucalyptus wood in Sindh is to be discussed here.

Sindh has very rich and fertile soil which produces a variety of crops. It has all types [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] of vegetables on the one hand, and on the other hand it has major crops like wheat, rice, cotton oilseeds etc. In fruits, Sindh produces mango, banana, citrus, melons, guava etc., besides having dense forests of which produce all types of wood. The major crops which will constitute the source of raw material for industrial products like paper and paper board are rice, wheat and the Eucalyptus trees. The rice crop covers an area of 720,155 hectares in Sindh and produced 1.6 million M. tons of rice in 1993-94. The major rice producing areas in Sindh are Larkana, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Dadu and Badin, as given in Table:-

While the wheat crop in Sindh spreads over an area of 1.09 million hectares and produced 2.4 million M. Tons in 1993-94. The major wheat producing areas in Sindh are Nawabshah, Sanghar, Sukkur, Tharparkar and Hyderabad, as given in Table:

Even if 15-20 per cent of the 2.4 million M. Tons wheat produced in Sindh is rendered surplus, the availability of wheat straw to the paper and board industry is considered more than sufficient. The chemical composition of wheat straw reveals the alpha cellulose content lower than that of wood, which is very necessary for the processing purposes. The rice production in Sindh as recorded in 1993-94 is 1.6 M. Tons and the straw is 80 per cent of the total quantity of grain produced. Presently, the rice straw is being used as fodder for livestock and the bulk quantity is being wasted because of no industrial usage of it. A very negligible amount of rice straw is reported to be used as a raw material by the paper and board industry. This is because of high silica content and hydrated pulp, however, it is manageable as demonstrated by Rakta Paper Mills in Egypt and in some other places in South East Asia.

Rice Straw Can be used as a raw material mix with wheat straw as well as specifically. The availability of rice straw in Sindh is in abundance particularly in Larkana, Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Dadu. Eucalyptus is another source of raw material which could be used for the paper and board project. Presently, the use of Eucalyptus wood is limited to the match factories and some cosmetic manufacturing concerns. The Eucalyptus tree leaving soft wood is good for making paper and board and can be processed along with the rice and wheat straw. It requires 5 years to attain maturity by a Eucalyptus tree and the average weight of a mature tree is 120 kgs. On the basis of these estimates, the net availability of Eucalyptus wood in 1993-94 is estimated at 30641 tonnes, in Larkana, Dadu, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Jacobabad areas.

The plantation of Eucalyptus in Sindh is mainly in shelter belts, however, the Forest Department, Government of Sindh had initiated a programme of social forestry in 1986, under which Eucalyptus was planted in 5000 acres in Khipro and some 150 acres in Jahanpur, Ghotki. The Eucalyptus [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] wood holds potential for industrial use but the availability in required quantities in the area is hampered by the existing users. Selection of areas where selected crops and wood produced:

Due to the huge requirements of raw materials for the paper and related projects, the most suitable location of the project should have the access to the source of raw materials. Larkana, which is mainly famous for its rice and guava production is the most suitable location. Larkana Division is situated in northern part of Sindh. It consists of three districts namely Larkana, Jacobabad and Shikarpur. It is divided in II sub-divisions and 16 talukas. Larkana division accommodated 2.7 million persons within its environs as per the statistics.

Being a rural economy, agriculture is the main source of earning, while a few industrial concerns are also operating in the areas such as Larkana Sugar Mills (under PIDC) at Naudero and some rice husking mills in the private sector. Larkana, being the centre of rice belt produced 682,839 M. Tons in 1993-94, which is 41 per cent of the entire rice production of Sindh. The area covered by rice in Larkana is 30 percent of rice belt in Sindh Jacobabad with 18 per cent, Shikarpur with 17.2 per cent, Dadu with 9 per cent and Badin with 6.5 per cent of overall rice production of Sindh, are the major areas where rice is grown.

In case of wheat, Nawabshah tops the list of major wheat production areas of Sindh with 23.3 per cent of 2.4 million M. Tons wheat produced in Sindh. Sanghar, Sukkur, Tharparkar and Hyderabad are the other major wheat producing areas. However, Larkana and Dadu also have a considerable share of wheat in the overall production of wheat in Sindh.

The availability of Eucalyptus in Larkana is estimated at 3,016 tons in 1993-94 which is expected to reach 12,000 tons in 1998-99. While Dadu, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Jacobabad also hold promise in view of the sufficient availability of Eucalyptus in these areas. Keeping in view the availability of raw material and to minimize the transportation cost, Agrowaste based projects should be setup where sufficient surplus of these material is possible.

The period of availability for rice straw is round the year, however, with the arrival of new crop of rice in market in October-November, the prices are lower and the availability is easy due to the arrival of new wheat crop in the market. However, the prices spiralled up during the period of December-March, and the availability is rather difficult.

The prices of rice straw starts from Rs. 15 per 50 kg. in October and reach at its peak in July-September period when it is sold for Rs. 40 per 40 kgs. The arrival of new rice crop in October brings the prices of straw to its lowest and the period before [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] the arrival of new crop spiral the prices to its peak.

The price of wheat straw starts from Rs. 20 per 40 kgs in April and reach at its peak in Jan-March period when it is sold for Rs. 80 per 40 kgs. The prices towards its lowest ebb at the arrival of new crop and reach its peak in the period just before the new crop.

The marketing of rice and wheat straw is carried out in a conventional manner. The purchaser contact the agriculturist and make a deal of a bulk quantity of straw. Some intermediaries purchase the straw at fields from agriculturists and then transport it to other areas of the country where it was sold at higher prices. The transportation cost on one ton of straw is Rs.160 on Dadu-Larkana and Shikarpur-Larkana route, while Rs. 200 on Sukkur-Larkana route and Rs. 267 on Jacobabad-Larkana route. A single truck carries the straw weighing 7.5 tonnes. These transportation charges are average and may vary in some cases.

This analysis leads to the conclusion that the availability of rice and wheat straw in Sindh and its major districts is sufficient to set up a paper, paper board, straw board, chipboard, hard board etc. manufacturing plant. However, the availability of Eucalyptus is not sufficient to base the plant on this single source of raw material. The use of Eucalyptus as a raw material mix along with rice and wheat straw can be considered.
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Title Annotation:Pakistan
Author:Memon, Abdul Wahab
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jul 1, 1995
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