LAHORE - During the past three years food inflation has surpassed over 70 per cent, but poultry meat prices are hovering around 33 per cent. Poultry meat is the cheapest available source of protein in the country, which needs government patronage. Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Chairman Khalil Sattar made these remarks while addressing the National Poultry and Food Expo 2011 held here on Friday.
He pointed out that poultry sector, with about 30,000 poultry farms, was the single largest rural job provider engaging around 1.5 million workers directly or indirectly and was engaged in socio-economic uplift of the rural population. He urged the government to enact a law requiring a minimum distance of 2-3 kilometers between poultry farms to ensure safety standards. He underlined that to avoid disease in poultry stock it should be mandatory and without government intervention it might not be possible.
Registering his protest against discrimination with poultry farmers in setting up their farms, he said that the farm site plan approval fee is Rs3/sqft, which is at par with industries that would have an investment of billions of rupees on a smaller constructed area, whereas in the urban areas of Lahore, for a luxurious bungalow, the site plan approval fee is Rs2/sqft. Further, the tragedy is that not a single municipal facility is provided in rural areas against the tax that is being collected. Poultry farmers are also required to pay a malba disposal tax but there is zero arrangement of malba disposal, while on the other hand, within the same area the agriculture sector pays zero taxes, he added. He said the poultry sector has provided millions of rupees in flood relief, earthquake rehabilitation and in rehabilitation of IDPs, but regrettably no assistance has ever been provided to flood effected or earthquake affected poultry farmers though they suffer large losses.
He said some 3000 poultry farms have been submerged by the last floods of July 2010 in the areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa, Punjab and Sindh, but all the relief funds were provided to agriculturists. The PPA chairman also called for an end to mistreatment of the poultry farming sector, adding that the government must embrace it because of its dedication to socio-economic uplift of the country, in addition to ensuring provision top-quality poultry products.