Food Industry in Pakistan and Challenges-by-saad-ur-rehman-malik

Food Industry in Pakistan and Challenges

BY: Hafiz Muhammad Bilal  &  Rabia Zulfiqar

Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha

Food is one of the basic necessities of the life. Food processing is mainly define as the process of value addition to agriculture produced by various method like grading, sorting and packaging. In other words, it is technique of manufacturing and preserving food substances in an effective manner with a view to enhance their shelf life.” Basically food is very important part of every one life because it gives us energy to move, to work, to play, to think and learn. Our body needs a variaty of following five nutrients like as protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals. To stay healthy we not only need above these five nutrients but we need in balance quantities. The consequences of not having a balance diet are numerous. If you do not eat enough protein then you will not be able to grow properly. If you do not eat enough energy containing substances like as fat and carbohydrates then you will feel very tired and if u eat too much energy then definitely you will become over weight and other human health problems. Many people in the developed world eat too much food and become over weight and thats why obesity is becoming a large scale of problem in developed world. One third of all Americans are obese being obese has serious health implication e.g heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Similarly on the other hand in the developing country many people suffer from hunger or under nutrition where do not have enough food or malnutrition which means badly nourished because malnutrition is characterized by inadequate intake of protein, energy, micronutrients and by frequent infection and disease. Food aid is a great opportunity for you all to learn more about these issues and to help the hungry and malnourished overseas. Food industry includes Agriculture raising of crops livestocks and seafood manufacturing agrichemical and agriculture construction farm machinery supplies and seed etc. Agriculture sectoris a consider as backbone of Pakistan economy employing 44.7% of the work force. Pakistan have an ideal climate nature has blessed for growing a variaty of large number of fruits and vegetable. According to agriculture department 30% of fruits and vegetables are wasted due to negligence and lack of processing facilities. Here most profitable food processing industry is agro industry. Agro food processing facilities Multan is non profit organization aimed at providing processing facilities for domestic fruits and vegetable and guidence on latest processing techniques being used in developed countries. Agro food processing facilities believes in empowering farmers by providing technical assistance from research institutes in the food industry to support the farmers in achieving better quality and higher yield by developing the gardening and harvesting techniques. Further to educating farmers with latest horticultural techniques. AFP is encouraging farmers to mobilize the fruits directly to the factory, thereby minimizing the fruits handling damages and high value realizations. AFP facilities gives exposure to stakeholders about fruits and vegetables processing techniques. It would provide the processing facilities for pulp extraction on state of the art imported plant for various fruits like mango, guava, apple, etc. There are some opportunities in agriculture food industry for new business ventures for example Manufacturing plant, detailed project report, business plan, industry trend, manufacturing process, raw material, production schedule, cost of project etc. More AFP company has been certified for hazard Analysis and critical control point and organic production. The company has undergone surveillance audits of above certificates successfully. Here we will discuss about the growth of the processed food industries in Pakistan. There are some key challenges. The processed food industries has been going through a major change in recent year there has been focus on traditional food items i.e cereals, biscuits, jam, pickle, juices, spices etc. The large number of firms of varying size have come up in recent year, catering to the rapidly changing needs of highly diversified consumers in term of age, gender, income, taste, and social background. The emergence of middle class a rapidly growing population, rising number of working women, increase urbanization and awareness about the significance of  nutritious and hygienic food has drastically change the business  landscape for the processed food industry. As convenience has an immense impact on food choices of consumer, the demand for food  product that reduce the both  preparation time and  effort has been growing strongly. There has been great focus on processing food industry, As food processing  helps make  the appearance and taste of the product more consistent, increases the off seasonal availability  of many food items makes food preparation less time consuming and provide access to these foods to a much larger population. It also preserved food nutrient and extend the food’s shelf life to aid in long distance transportation as well as storage. Due to high interdependence with other activities agro industry can play a very important role in accelerating economic activity and creating employment in the country e.g agro based industry generates demand for basic inputs i.e fertilizer, pesticide, animal feed, processing equipment and machinery, refrigerated vehicles and container etc. Furthermore an effective management of logistics and supply chain transport, storage and distribution becomes critical for the food industry, due to limited shelf life and supply   uncertainties of agriculture produce. The by product or waste product  from food processing  can be used as  feed or fuel for other  industries for example animal feed industries can utilize  as several  agro industries  by products such as oilseed cakes and blood, carcass and bone meal. Similarly waste from fiber crop is used as paper pulp or fuel. Food processing can also add value to the country’s export. A close coordination with the processing industry allow farmers to earns a higher and stable income as the use of technology and acquired knowledge and improves yields and lower post harvest losses, the better use of soil and water resources and control of pest and diseases reduce output volatility both in term of quality and quantity more that farmers receive a premium for value added to their produce. Similarly the use of modern means of communication and easier global connectivity allows customers to learn about new foods, discover new retailers, and become more conscious about the leading food brands. Furthermore, the launch  of several dedicated food channels on television network  and the mushrooms growth in cooking shows have a major influence on choices that consumers makes. While the food processing industry is adapting to the changing taste and preferences of consumers, sometimes it also helps consumers to build preference for their product through aggressive advertisement campaigns. As a result consumers have a wide choice of different food items offered by some top food processing companies. For example where many companies used to offer ready to fry chicken nuggets product now their product has expanded to both traditional and foreign meal i.e noodles, pasta, samosa, burger patties etc. The food processing industry in Pakistan has been dominated by the two major international players Nestle (in dairy, juices, baby food, cereal, noodles and Unilever (tea, dessert, dressing and sauces etc. Lately a number of small and medium size companies for example Euro foods, Pk meat, Menu, Mon salwa, Syma, Dawn. Food markets are also making inroads into the processed food market. Similarly Adam, Cottage and deen are major dairy based brands available in retail stores. Here food packaging is an important growth driven. Food packing has enabled today’s consumer to look for various option and compare the value offering before making a purchase. Packing has also help it enhanced portability of product and increase their shelf life. Basically packaged food industry is constantly innovating to ensure its products are keeping up with the evolving consumers preferences so in this way they can stand out in a competitive dynamic marketplace. Thus all the food items are packaged from plastic bag holding fresh fruits to microwaveable plastic container for ready meals. Brands are increasingly utilizing the look and feel of product i.e color, texture, design etc and most important effective labeling so that consumer can easily differentiate their brands among  dozens of packaged food  brand in the market. There are some major challenges faces by food industry are also we will discuss here. A number of new entrants in the processed food industry belong to the informal sector which is largely undocumented and under- texted. The food items produced by these firm are cheaper are because of low quality standard. These manufacturers pose a major challenge to a large firms in a formal sector  who invest heavily in innovation to make their product differ significantly from those currently in the market and on aggressive media campaigns to convince potential customers to buy their product. In simple term we can say that the entire process of the product development and marketing is capital intensive. However inadequate protection through patents and trademarks allows small manufacturers to easily copy the label and packaging of brand products. Such counterfeit product generally offer high margins to retailer especially in small karyana store in the village. Maintaining the quality of food product is one of the major challenges for the industry. The food quality depend upon several factor i.e quality of raw material, state of logistic facilities(transport, storage) and condition  at the point of sale etc. This means ensuring quality would involve working with every player in the supply chain such as farmers and wholesalers, transporters and retailers while on the other hand large player are in better position to integrate all stage of the production process i.e from primary production to the retail sale while smaller players focus on improving the effectiveness of their supply chain through improved coordination. Small land holding can also be a major constraints, the strong competitive pressure comels processing firms to seek economies of scale by integrating farmers into the supply chain. As a result number of firms are going into corporates farming. However the vast majority of farmers in Pakistan have land units that are fragmented and below 12.5 acres which make it difficult to generate economies of scale that would justify the use of mechanization and sophisticated cropping patterns. One possible solution is to encourage cooperative farming which allows economy of scale by forming vibrant cluster of farmers. Our food industry faces several problems at the pre establishment and post production stage. Though we have witnessed a phenomenal increase in our industrial base, it is still not enough to absorb our production capacity e.g we imports large quantities of edible oil for making vegetable ghee. Some of the major problems include i.e Political change, Monopolistic tendencies, Lack of financing capital, Non availability of skilled workers, Lack of infrastructural facilities, Transport problem, High production cost etc. So to overcome all these problems Government should also take steps for improving industry. 100%  deduction of profit  for first five years and 25% profit in the next five years to new agro processing industries set up to package and process fresh fruits and vegetables. Excise duty on dairy machinery waived off. Excise duty on meat, poultry and fish product reduce from 16 to 8%. Full repatriation of profit and capital allowed. Full exemption on duty allowed for all imports by exports oriented units. AT last i just have some conclusion, A vibrant food processing industry is very important for a developing country fot its strong backward. It can enhance farm income by offering a ready market for farm product reduces post harvest losses and generating off farm employment. More importantly food processing industry can be an important source of export earning for the country. In Pakistan the food processing industry has come a long way from traditional processed food item to higher value added product customized to consumers taste and preferences. However in order to harness this potential the industry need a level playing field, adequate protection of innovation, minimum quality standards, and the setting that allow firms and growers to achieve the benefits from economies of scale.


Saad Ur Rehman Saadi
Saad Ur Rehman Saadi

My name is Saad ur Rehman, and I hold a M.Sc (Hons.) in Agronomy and MA in Journalism. I am currently serving as an Agriculture Officer in the Agriculture Extension Department. I have previously worked with Zarai Tarqiati Bank as an MCO. With my education in agriculture and journalism, I am able to effectively communicate issues that affect farmers' daily lives. In recognition of my community and literary services, I was awarded a gold medal by the government.

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