KARACHI: Pakistan exported 95,991 tonnes (worth $333 million) meat and meat preparations in FY21 — an all-time high figures — against 83,749 tonnes ($304m) a year ago. However, the average per tonne price (APT) remained low at $3,473 as compared to $3,631 in FY20.
The new fiscal started with a twist as the APT price soared to $4,234 in July-August 2021-22 from $3,444 in the same period in the last fiscal year despite drop in quantity to 11,702 tonnes ($49m) from 14,974 tonnes ($51.5m) in the same period FY21, down by 22pc in quantity and 4pc in value.
Exports have been facing a downward trend from July 2021. As per figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), in July 2021, exports plunged to 5,889 tonnes ($25m) from 8,176 tonnes ($28m) in July 2020. The APT price stood at $4,182 in July 2021 versus $3,465 in July 2020.
In August 2021, exports stood at 6,047 tonnes ($25m) as compared to 6,798 ($23m) in the same month in 2020. The APT went up to $4,213 from $3,418 in the above period.
In the last 10 years, exports hovered in the range of 56,000-85,000 tonnes.
Beef, mutton remain out of reach for many in Pakistan due to high prices
Pakistan’s meat exports have been struggling to compete with the exporters of African countries who have been offering competitive prices for shipments to the Middle East markets than local exporters, Managing Director of PK Livestock Tariq Mehmood Butt said.
However, massive rupee devaluation against the dollar from May 2021 till to date has provided a much breathing space for the exporters, he said. However, high local meat prices have diluted the positive impact of rupee fall against the greenback. One dollar was equal to Rs152 in May 2021 as compared to Rs169 now in the interbank market, Mr Butt added.
He explained that the cattle mandi and quarantine fees were taken by the government, thus pushing up costs and decreasing competitiveness of exportable items.
Pakistan exports 98pc of meat and meat preparations to the ME markets by air. The share of beef is 95pc of total exports; he said adding that Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan are giving a tough time to Pakistani exporters.
Mr Butt opined that consumers’ buying power has remained depressed owing to rising prices of various food items after the start of Covid-19 and frequent market closures from February/March 2020 to date. Even in Pakistan, many consumers cannot afford to buy costly mutton and beef, he added.
Looking unsatisfied over the official figures available in Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) FY21 regarding rising livestock production, he claimed that livestock production has been falling for the last three years instead of showing any growth.
PES shows cattle, buffalo and goat production of 51.5m, 42.4m and 80.3m in FY21 as compared to 47.8m, 40m and 76.1m in FY19. Beef and mutton production rose to 2,380,000 and 765,000 tonnes in FY21 as compared to 2,227,000 and 732,000 tonnes in FY19.
He argued that goat farmers have gone on back foot in the last three years while big animal growers have also become reluctant in the last 1.5 years in investing in livestock farming owing to low demand triggered by high meat prices and inflationary trend in overall food prices.
Talking to Dawn, Chairman of Dairy and Cattle Farmers Association (DCFA) Shakir Umar Gujjar did not agree with the PES production figures of livestock, saying that these were based on estimated figure based on inter census growth rate of livestock census 1996 and 2006.
He said calf and milk-producing cows are being slaughtered to meet the demand of meat which is resulting in shortage of animals. He said buffalo price is now Rs450,000 as compared to Rs100,000 few years back.
Consumers have been paying higher prices for veal and mutton meat for the last few years. Mutton sells between Rs1,400-1,600 per kg as compared to Rs1,000 per kg three years back followed by Rs720-750 and Rs820-850 per kg for veal with and without bones which are priced at Rs480 and Rs580 per kg. Meat merchants have been attributing rising prices of meat to surging meat exports.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2021