LAHORE -  The Pakistan Poultry Association (NZ) Chairman Dr Abdul Karim has said the chicken meat prices will start reducing within a few days as huge supply of chicken is in the pipeline.

While addressing a press conference here at Lahore Press Club, he said the poultry farmers had been selling their produce below cost for over a year and resultantly 40 percent farms, which could not afford to suffer more losses, were forced to close down.

He said poultry farmers lost around Rs40-45 per kg of chicken meat in the past year amid the worst slowdown in sales. He said the dwindling purchasing power of people over the last couple of years because of rising costs of energy and other essentials has reduced the poultry industry growth to just 2 percent from 10 percent. At present, 40 percent of poultry farms in Punjab have closed down because of losses.

He said that poultry meat prices had risen 400 percent in the last 20 years, compared with an 800 percent increase in wheat prices and more than 700 percent surge in beef and mutton rates, he said.

Industry stakeholders feel that the government’s policies toward the poultry sector tend to focus more on collecting tax revenue rather than creating new jobs and providing inexpensive, quality and healthy food to the people. Chicken meat consumption in Pakistan is estimated to be 8kg per person per year, far below 40kg in developed countries.

He said that poultry sector is the most organised branch of the agro-based sectors of Pakistan. He said poultry sector had been serving the nation and providing affordable poultry products to the masses to fulfil the requirements of animal protein. Poultry at present contributes 40 percent of the total meat consumption and generates employment and income for about 1.8 million people.

As per standard of World Health Organisation, daily requirement of animal protein for a person is 27 grams whereas public is consuming 17 grams only. “Therefore, we are already consuming less animal protein as per required standards,” he added.

Dr Karim said that prices of poultry products had remained very low for a long time, causing losses to farmers and resulting into closure of almost 30 percent poultry farms in the country. Presently, demand is high while supply is limited. However, the situation will improve as a huge supply of chicken is in the pipeline and the prices of chicken will start reducing within a few days, he added.