As per officials Pakistan’s per annum poultry production stands at 1.65 billion broilers or 3.2 billion kg of broiler meat, but due to ever increasing price of the commodity the poultry consumption has been witnessing a decline for past few years. At present, live chicken prices are revolving around Rs 150 per kg to Rs 200 per kg, while of chicken meat the range is between Rs 300 per kg to Rs 380 per kg. As compared to other sources of protein chicken is still cheaper as beef is being sold at Rs 380 per kg and mutton at Rs 600 per kg, but due to increase in input costs and depreciation of Pakistani Rupee value against US dollar the price of poultry products is witnessing an increase.
A famous multinational food chain operating in Pakistan is importing chicken products from China and the government has exempted it from taxes on the plea that China is Pakistan’s close friend, but this act of the government has put the growth of local industry at stake.
As per National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) officials the government is taking steps to introduce modern diagnostic facilities in required areas to improve poultry output in the country. Pakistan has great export potential in poultry industry and can also tap into the growing demand of Halal food world-wide. The Ministry is taking all possible measures for exploiting this potential to increase the export of Halal food from the country.
Sources said that poultry industry contributes about 1.7 percent of the GDP while at the same time it was providing 1.7 million jobs to skilled, semi skilled and unskilled workers. Moreover poultry industry has also played an important role in alleviating poverty by improving rural economy. Dr Hassan Sarosh, Central Chairman Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) while talking to Business Recorder said that the government’s policies during past few years have hurt poultry industry, which is not only able to meet local demand but also in a position to export millions of tons poultry products to other countries if conducive environment is provided to industry. He added that the government is collecting General Sales Tax (GST) as well as other taxes from local chains on inputs required in products processed for international food chains.
“Our neighbouring country India has imposed a 100 percent duty on meat and chicken imported by McDonalds, which forced the food chain to get its products processed in India,” he said. But in Pakistan the duty on import of processed food by multinational food chains has been reduced from 50 to 25 percent. He said the European Union and other developed economies heavily subsidised chicken and meat products. Countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia import this subsidised meat and export it to Pakistan at very low rates after processing it, he added and said that some state of the art food processing units have been forced to shut down.
“Some of them are importing processed chicken from China and Malaysia and are marketing them as their brands after repacking. Currently, only one percent of the chicken meat produced in the country is processed”, Sarosh maintained. “The meat processing industry should be facilitated if anything because processing enriches the quality of meat and is healthier and safer to consume,” he added.