Two representatives from the EU Delegation to Pakistan visited the Cutlery Manufacturing SMEs on December 9th, 2015, in Wazirabad, to attain first-hand information and observations as to the current manufacturing practices in the Cutlery and Knives sector. The delegation included Mr. Amaury Hoste, Head of Rural Development and Economic Growth and Ms. Roshan Ara, Development Advisor.
EUD has been at the forefront to provide SMEs industrial sector with all possible help to achieve export led growth to eradicate poverty and to improve working conditions of the labor force engaged.
In view of a benchmarking study in the Cutlery and Knives Sector, the major impediments of the sector have been identified as; low levels of productivity, inadequate upgrading of technology, poor performance management systems and shortage of skilled staff and labor. The sector, indeed, is facing acute labor shortage in grinding and polishing sections. A major reason is a hazardous health environment leading to fatal diseases like lung cancer. The new generation is unlikely to adopt the work of polishing from their parents and parents are also not in favor of engaging their children into an unhealthy working environment with stagnant opportunities of growth. Also, the polishing section is the bottleneck in the production line of cutlery and knives, limiting the production capacities of the cutlery manufacturing units.
In order to overcome the challenges of poor working conditions and inadequate production capacities, TRTA-II has intervened by developing model units in the sector through provision of Cutlery Polishing machines, to create an attraction for the new workforce.
During the visit, the delegation met with the owners of cutlery beneficiary units, where the polishing machines under the wing of TRTA-II are to be installed. The delegation also discussed the expected benefits as a result of this intervention. The beneficiary units praised the delegation for this intervention and mentioned that it would definitely improve the working environment in the polishing sections and will attract new labor force into the cutlery & knives sector. At the same time, production capacities of the beneficiary units will increase 6 times along with uniform product quality. This will help them to carry out greater number of production orders thereby leading to more employment generation.