PESHAWAR: After their idea was turned down by the provincial government, a team of the Dairy Science Project at the University of Agriculture Peshawar took an initiative to set up a private ‘meat factory’ to provide much-needed hygienic meat to the local residents.
According to it, the facility will not only provide farmers with an opportunity to sell animals at rates higher than the market’s but will also give consumers an option to get halal and hygienic certified packed meat.
Prof Subhan Qureshi, the dean of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Agriculture Peshawar and chief patron of the Dairy Science Park, said the Peshawar Meat Shop on the University Road had begun selling meat and that he hoped it would pave the way for the export of halal meat in the near future.
“It is transforming farm resources into entrepreneurship,” he said, adding that the factory would provide meat produced organically at the pastures of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.
After their idea’s rejection by govt, agriculture varsity team sets up private ‘meat factory’
He said the animals were traceable and processed at the registered facility and that the varieties of meat available in Peshawar meat outlets included local sheep, goat, cattle and quail breeds.
The Dairy Science Park linking academia to industry to create employment for youths, mostly UoA graduates and providing hygienic food for the people actualised the entrepreneurial concept by setting up a meat factory with Rs500,000.
It will monthly generate income of Rs100,000 by producing hygienically produced meat in line with international standardised procedures.
“It may be utilised as an entrepreneurship model for generating self-employment for the youths and halal meat production for the people and international market,” said Prof Qureshi.
The idea was first floated by the UoA after waiting for the implementation of the ADP project worth Rs200 million for establishing a modern slaughterhouse was shot down by the relevant government officials.
However, the DSP team kept working and established the Peshawar Meat Shop through the DSP Innovations, a private registered company.
Not only will it provide hygienic meat for local consumption it was a small step in the province towards the international halal meat market that has total value exceeding $500 billion and still growing.
Prof Qureshi said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government recently signed a MoU with Malaysian Halal Food Corporation regarding the processing and certification of halal meat but projects like DSP also needed encouragement.
Ironically, out of 57 Muslim countries, only Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and UAE are in halal meat business while non-Muslim Countries like Australia and USA are world’s largest halal meat exporters. India, a non-Muslim neighbour, is also much ahead in halal meat export.
“In India, mostly Muslims are working in this export business. In Thailand, most of the people in farming and slaughtering are Muslims, Pakhtun hailing from Mardan and Charsadda. It is unfortunate that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is lagging behind in halal meat export despite potential,” said Prof Qureshi.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Haji Mohammad Afzal, who looked unhappy at the provincial government not taking the chamber’s consultation while signing the MoU with Malaysian corporation, said there was no registered known halal meat exporter in the province.
“Some people have been importing meat from India and exporting it to Afghanistan here.
However, there is no one registered with us as halal meat exporter with the chamber,” said Haji Mohammad Afzal, who accepted that butchers needed to be educated about value-addition and hygiene in meat production.
In a country, where there is little check on food quality and hygiene, there were media reports about the sale of donkey meat in Punjab. In such situation, consumers find it difficult to get hygienically produced and processed meat locally.
Prof Qureshi claimed that the private factory providing hygienic meat in Peshawar was following international standards, keeping the entire process hygienic.
He said the animals at farms were thoroughly checked, while farmers were made aware of healthy practices.
“The butchers usually bought old and weak cattle as they got it cheap because they were bound by the government on a fixed sale rate. But our meat a bit expensive is produced from healthy and younger animal,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2017