LAHORE  - Under invoicing on import of poultry products is on the rise, as presently processed chicken meat is being imported at 75 Cents per kg from China while the rate of this same boneless, fatless and ready-to-cook chicken product is not less than $4 per kg across the world, damaging the industry of Pakistan massively.

Poultry industry experts have asked the government that all impediments which increase the cost such as lower capacity utilization, import duties on inputs, lack of protection against imports and lack of regulations for disease identification need to be addressed for making exports feasible.  Pakistan Poultry Association chairman Major (r) Ahmed Waseem urged the government to impose ban on import of poultry products, as it is not only the issue of quality rather it is also the matter of Halal and Haram.

“The chicken meat imported to Pakistan is said to be processed in Halal way but there is no surety that all components of feed provided to chicken were halal as compared to Pakistan where feed mills not only ensure the quality of their product but also confirm that all its ingredients are completely halal.”  Pakistan Poultry Association Chairman observed that local cost of production is already high on account of electricity and gas outages and prevalence of epidemic diseases on account of lack of regulations, coupled with import duties on inputs, making the local production uncompetitive. Pakistan, being predominantly a Muslim country, stands to benefit from growing demand of Halal food world over.

“If imports are not checked immediately, the entire poultry industry in general and the emerging poultry sector in particular will suffer a serious setback, he warned.

“Worldwide, there are subsidies on export of processed chicken. Some provide subsidies on freight, some have lower preferential rate of electricity for agriculture, poultry and livestock and some purely as an incentive for foreign exchange earnings.

To a question, Major Waseem said that poultry sector’s productivity has been increasing steadily over past few years thanks to Punjab investment in poultry sheds, better breeding technologies and sufficient availability of fine-quality poultry feed.  The poultry sector growth was affected severely in South zone in 2010 when Sindh High Court refused to extend leasing of poultry farms in Sindh, putting the farmers in trouble, who stopped investment due to uncertain atmosphere.

Major Waseem informed that the PPA, when he was leading South zone office, approached the Supreme Court against this anti-industry decision of the SHC, which allowed the extension in leasing of land to poultry farmers. As a result, the poultry sector started growing sharply and the number of environmentally-controlled poultry sheds reached 200 during this period in Sindh, which will further increase to 300 by next year.    “Building upon this growth momentum requires an enabling environment and taxing poultry feed is one big negative towards creating that environment.  Poultry sector is annoyed by 5pc customs duty on all imported items used in poultry feed along with 5 per cent sales tax on soybean meal.” Regarding worst security situation, the PPA Chairman demanded of the government to take strict measures to control law & order situation in Karachi.