Lahore - The poultry industry has suffered a loss of around Rs43 billion in one year and this loss may mount further because the cost is increasing while the sale price is not.

This was stated by the Pakistan Poultry Association North Zone Chairman, Rai Mansab Ali Kharal, while addressing a press conference here at LPC on Tuesday.

“If the present situation prevails, up to 50 percent poultry farms may be closed, affecting lower class due to non-availability of cheaper protein source, besides rendering thousands of people jobless.”

Rai said that the cost of poultry sector was already high due to loadshedding. He said that broiler average rate remained at Rs117 per kg during the last one year while the cost was in the range of Rs130-135, causing a loss of more than Rs20 per kg to the poultry farmers.

The annual average selling price of broiler chick’s ex-hatchery has been Rs 24/chick against the cost of production of Rs31/day old chick as worked out by the Commissioner Animal Husbandry, Government of Pakistan in 2012 for submission to the Peshawar High Court.

The current costs are much higher due to inflation over the years. The average price of day old chick during July 2016 was only Rs5.50 only. “We produce 1.25 day old chicks and presently its cost of production is Rs35 if selling price is Rs24 per chick, it comes to Rs13.75 billion loss in day old chick,” he added.

The chairman appealed to the government to provide Rs20 per kg subsidy to every poultry farmer. “The scheduled banks should be asked to provide interest-free loans to the poultry farmers so that they could revive their businesses. Repayment of the poultry farmers, who have already taken loans from banks, should be rescheduled/delayed for at least one year,” he said, and added, “20 percent Duty Draw Back (Export Subsidy) and 25 percent Freight Subsidy to the exporters of poultry products should be provided to compete with the exporters of other countries.” “The government should also withdraw sales tax / import duty imposed on import of soybean meal and grand parent chicks / hatching eggs,” he demanded.

Rai said the government had nullified its own policy by imposing duties on imported raw material. “An import duty on these raw materials has put additional burden of Rs10 billion on the Poultry Sector,” he added.

Moreover, he said that the district governments should not intervene whenever prices of chicken and eggs were increased so that the poultry farmers could recover their losses up to some extent.

Pakistan Poultry Association (NZ) Chairman also said that the poultry sector was the most organised branch of the agro-based sectors of Pakistan. He said the poultry sector had been serving the nation and providing affordable poultry products to the masses to fulfill the requirements of animal protein.

“Poultry, at present, provides 40 percent of the total meat consumption and generates employment for about 1.8 million people,” Rai said, and added, “But unfortunately, this industry is in crisis despite playing an important role in economic growth and providing cheaper protein to the people.”