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Tenders to be invited for Khairpur dates processing plant

KARACHI (July 20 2007): Pakistan Horticulture Development and Exports Board (PHDEB) will invite tenders for construction of a dates processing plant at Khairpur at the cost of Rs 24.113 million by August, 2007. The work is underway to hold bidding for `up-to-the-mark` plant, which would be established on public private partnership (PPP) basis, sources in PHDEB told Business Recorder here on Thursday.

Under PPP, sources said, the Sindh government has provided two acres of land for this purpose. The Sindh government also released Rs 19.946 million from the Export Development Fund (EDF) and would take care of the cost of plant machinery, equipment, vehicles and other civil works.

The day-to-day operations would, however, be entrusted to a team of professionals hired from the private sector, said the sources. They said the private sector would contribute the working capital worth around Rs 4.167 million while a private limited company had also been formed to accomplish the management work of the plant, which was named as Khairpur Dates Processing Plant (KDPP).

The company, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, would have its members from PHDEB, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Agriculture Research Institute, DRC; Kot Digi, Khiarpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry and investors and growers from the private sector of Khairpur.

The Board had set 2008 as a deadline for completion of the KDPP, which would produce an estimated 2000 tons of processed dates during the 150 working days, said the sources. Sources said that the KDPP, for which funds had been transferred to account of the company, would be built to improve the quality of dates and increase the level of value addition. The proposed plant would be based on multiple products including pitted and stuffed dates and would increase the level of value addition, sources said.

On financial viability of the plant, sources said, the project was financially feasible with no foreign exchange involved as the facility was mostly based on locally manufactured plant and machinery.

They said that the foreign made equipment would be bought from the local market if needed, adding that the Internal Financial Rate of Return of the project was estimated at 17.80 percent, the IERR at 12.30 percent and the benefit cost ratio at 1.08 percent. Presently, the country has 54 date processing units.

The most important includes Pak-Iran International (Pvt) Ltd and Panama Impex Agency in Karachi; Panjgur Date Industries and Pullain Baloch Zamindar Zara in Panjgur; Prime Dates Products (Pvt) Ltd, Sham Traders, Shama Fruit Co and Syed International in Sukkur and others located in Khairpur, Lahore, Turbat, Quetta and D.I.Khan.

In addition to KDPP, two dates processing plants, one each in D.I.Khan and Turbat along with cold storage facilities were also being developed under the Trade Policy. Pakistan with an estimated 622.1 thousand tons annual production ranks 4th in dates production and 5th in its exports around the world.

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