AN in-depth study of the meat sector, released by the Competition Commission of Pakistan for public comment on Aug 31, has recommended the government promote public-private partnership for efficient management of state-run slaughterhouses so that consumers get quality meat.

Currently, these slaughterhouses are in a dilapidated condition, posing a threat to human health.

The Commission endorsed the government policy to allow export of a limited number of animals to strengthen the regulatory mechanism in order to improve both the price and quality of meat. Meat prices are set by the district authorities after market surveys and consultation with stakeholders; but since this mechanism is not effective, if the government decides to deregulate meat prices profiteering may increase. Therefore meat price regulation is being used as deterrence.


The CCP recommends the establishment of export-oriented abattoirs and livestock by-product processing units. Without overcoming trans-boundary animal diseases, Pakistan cannot get itself registered as a meat exporting country


Regarding the suggestion for the limited export of meat animals, one may recall that in the wake of the March 2009 decision by the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet to allow export of live animals, Pakistan exported 275,000 cattle and 232,000 sheep to various countries during the 2009-13 period. Later in a July 30, 2013 meeting, the ECC reversed its decision after being informed that the country was hurting the export of value added meat.

The focus of the CCP report is on the meat production system and the meat market structure, since meat is an essential food item for households due to being protein-rich.

The Meat sector has a great potential in terms of growth, income generation, foreign exchange earnings and poverty reduction. The share of livestock in agriculture during 2015-2016 rose to 58.55pc from 56.4pc in the previous year. About 8m rural population is engaged in raising livestock. The Livestock sector contributed 11.61pc to the GDP during 2015-2016, the highest contribution compared to other sub-sectors.

Much of the livestock sector happens to be in the informal sector. Almost every activity, right from livestock farming and production to the marketing of beef and mutton, is done in the informal sector. Out of the total meat produced in the country, about 80pc is the contribution of small subsistence farmers while the remaining comes from commercial and semi-commercial farmers. Even most of the meat sold across the country is in the informal sector.

However, the demand for meat in local as well as international markets has been growing tremendously in recent decades owing to an increase in the number of consumers, an increase in the purchasing power of the middle class, dietary patterns and food deficit countries. The import and export of livestock and its products is regulated by the Pakistan Animal Quarantine Act, 1979 and rules enforced in 1980.

The demand for halal meat has also been growing globally but Pakistan cannot take advantage of this situation without attaining high standards of quality and meeting legal requirements.

The country needs to develop a complete meat value chain and move towards value addition in the market which will benefit both consumers and producers.

With the government’s support and proper regulations, the meat sector can be an important source of foreign exchange earnings.

Major importers of Pakistani mutton and beef are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and some East Asian countries. During July-March 2015-16, a total of 46.24 thousand tonnes of meat was exported, fetching $144.86m. This export was done by 31 private slaughterhouses. To increase meat export, the Livestock Wing plans to encourage commercial farming with emphasis on value addition, covering the entire meat value chain from ‘farm to fork’.

The CCP recommends the establishment of export-oriented abattoirs and livestock by-product processing units. Without overcoming trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs) Pakistan cannot get itself registered as a meat exporting country. There is urgent need to mobilise livestock departments in the provinces to carry out disease control campaigns, improve the working of current animal quarantine stations and set up new stations.

The unabated smuggling of animals and meat to Afghanistan and Iran also creates a shortage of animals and hence raises the price of meat. Meat animal production is adversely affected by many factors, one being higher prices of fodder because of decreased cultivation of fodder crops.

Published in Dawn, Business & Finance weekly, September 12th, 2016

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...
IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...