Even though rare significant changes are made to it , Industrialisation will always remain a popular topic of discussion in Pakistan. Over the course of time, one realizes the extent of potential that still lies in this sector, and how lucrative certain innovative ideas could be. Paired with this, the fact that we are a developing country and have not exactly lightened the pressure we are putting on the accelerator to let imports in is only draining the economy.
Representing a mere 0.23% of the world’s economy,our country’s GDP is a proof of the imbalance in our exports and imports. A plethora of products – including fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea, plastic, vehicles, and rubber-are imported from a wide range of countries. However, one import that really catches the eye is the influx of organic and inorganic chemicals.
Naturally, there are going to be certain products which we are unable to manufacture domestically. If a case like this arises,import is the only option. However, any person who has the required knowledge of chemistry will be able to give ideas to synthesize some basic products that are used in almost every other industry as a raw material but are imported. A very common example of such a raw material is citric acid. Citric acid is a raw material that is abundantly used in pharmaceutical industries, food/ beverage industries, and school laboratories. Unfortunately, as simple as it is to manufacture citric acid, we as a country are not doing anything to help the process along. The research that has been done on the import of citric acid states:, “In the current Pakistan scenario, none of the CA consumed is being produced within the country; imports from China have been the major source for fulfilling the country’s requirements” (Nadeem et al. 2014).
According to Memon (2017), “Pakistan is the 12th largest producer of citrus and the largest producer of Kino in the world.” This sadly also means that an immense amount of waste is produced from the manufacture of citric acid as all the fruit is not consumed. But the great thing about it is that we do not need freshly squeezed citrus juice to extract the citric acid. Citric acid, itself used as a preservative, can be extracted from all the fruit that goes to waste. Not only does Pakistan have a large production of a variety of oranges, but also other citrus fruits like lemons and clementines, which can be grown very easily and in abundance too.
Delving into this topic a bit more, it is found that even the other raw materials required for making citric acid are not costly and are available quite easily. The first thing that has to be done is the extraction of juice from any source of citrus. The fruit is treated to extract calcium citrate,which causes a further reaction with sulfuric acid. As a result of the reaction, you get a solution of citric acid which can then be purified to obtain solid citric acid. In addition to this, citric acid can be manufactured synthetically as well, on a large scale, from solid state fermentation of molasses using strains of Aspergillus Niger (a micro-organism).
After all, the development of a well-functioning industrial sector comes with an array of advantages: labor is utilised in the development of a product which can also help to alleviate problems of unemployment, the country’s current negative trade balance could be turned around, opportunities of foreign investment could open up and the overall condition of the national market will inevitably improve. This is just one example of a very simple product, and raw material, that can be made in our country – without the need of immense knowledge, effort or investment. Hence, we can actually work our way up the international market and make a standing for ourselves.