The Sindh Agriculture and Forestry Workers Organization (SAFWCO) here on Friday disbursed a grant of Rs35 million for setting up cold storage, a mango pulp unit and a dehydration plant to dry fruits and vegetables. According to a press statement, a ceremony was held at SAFWCO’s office during which Sindh Agriculture University’s Prof Dr Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar handed over cheques to Rishad Mateen, KTC and Perfect Foods for setting up those units. He said the funds were being provided to promote small and medium-scale enterprises related to agriculture and livestock in rural areas with the support of the European Union, ICT and PPAF. He added that the company’s objective was to increase self-employment by promoting rural and industrial development. According to him, conducting observation visits and initiating livelihood improvement projects were undertaken to help such enterprises. Kumbhar said he looked forward to providing more financial assistance to the recipients of the funds in the second phase of the project. The SAFWCO’s founder Suleman G Abro, the chief guest, while addressing the recipients of the funds expressed hope that those units would also create employment opportunities to help reduce poverty and unemployment. He said that by producing milk, butter, ghee, vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products in a standardized way the farmers could enhance their income besides contributing to a growth in fetching the export orders. Syed Sajjad Ali Shah, Managing Director of SAFWCO Microfinance Company, congratulated the recipients of the aid checks and informed them that the company was also providing loans on easy terms for business development. He added that the company also offered business training to small and medium enterprises. The representatives of the 3 companies shared their experiences on the occasion. A sum of Rs500,000 to seven companies each was also distributed during the ceremony. Those companies work to produce milk, butter, banana chips and mango pickle according to export standards.