LAHORE, Aug 25: Federal Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Sikandar Hayat Bosan has said that Rs1 billion were in the pipeline for the revival of the poultry industry after the bird flu crisis.
Inaugurating a two-day International Poultry Congress and exhibition of poultry products organised by the Pakistan Poultry Association here on Friday morning, he said the government was taking all possible steps to help the industry recover from the effects of the crisis. A sum of Rs150 million had been paid as compensation to the poultry farmers affected by the disease. Special allocations had also been made for upgrading diagnostic laboratories, he added.
He said the Federal Poultry Board had also recommended five-year income tax exemption for the poultry farms, advancing of soft loans to the farmers, concessions in duty on exports and duty-free import of evaporative cooling systems and vaccine for the revival of the poultry industry. Efforts were being made to implement the recommendations in letter and spirit. The government also planned to launch a massive awareness campaign for prevention and control of infectious diseases.
He said the industry had received a serious setback as a result of bird flu. The government wanted to revive it at the earliest not only because it was one of the major sources of animal protein but also because it produced it at an affordable price.
District nazim Mian Amer Mahmood said phenomenal growth of industry during the past few years was an example for other industries but it had suffered a serious setback due to bird flu crisis. The government was trying to revive the industry and allowed serving of one dish meal at marriage ceremonies.
Mr Bosan said industry required investment in processing so that the street slaughtering of chicken could be stopped and the people could get processed meat from shops.
He said the city district government had distributed one cock and two hen sets among the poor in the rural areas as a part of poverty alleviation strategy so that they could sell or consume eggs.
Pakistan Poultry Association chairman Raza Mahmood Khursand said the industry was producing 10 billion eggs and 750 million tons of white meat annually on the one hand and providing employment to 1.2 million on the other. It had room for further growth because animal protein consumption in the country was far less than the developed countries.
He said chicken prices had gone up due to gap between demand and supply because most of the farms had been closed due to bird flu crisis in November and were reopening gradually. The prices would come down with the increase in production after reopening of farms. The industry had received a serious setback and suffered Rs2 billion losses as a result of the crisis.