ISLAMABAD - The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Tuesday said increasing import of milk and whey powders are slowly destroying the local dairy sector while contributing to rural poverty and playing havoc with people’s health.

The local dairy sector has become unattractive for investors which has resulted in falling milk production due to closure of hundreds of farms, it said. The government should take immediate steps to reverse the situation otherwise Pakistan will become a milk-deficient country, said Atif Ikram Sheikh, Chairman FPCCI Regional Committee on Industries.

He said that local dairy sector is going down since 2013 due to the import of milk powder. The country imports two to three crore kilogrammes of milk powder annually while the imports jumped to 44 million kilogrammes in 2015.

Milk sellers have started cheap milk powder in fresh milk while many industries using fresh milk have switched to imported dry milk which has added to the problems of the local dairy sector, he observed.

Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Turkey has imposed 180 percent duty on import of milk, therefore, Pakistan should also hike duty to a minimum of 100 percent.

Local milk market should be regulated, adulteration should be discouraged and masses should know the difference between fresh milk and synthetic products which are very damaging for babies.