LAHORE: The Pakistan Poultry Association (Northern Region) has indicated that due to high prices of raw materials, poultry feed and import duties, there is no possibility of reduction in poultry prices in the near future.
Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club here on Monday, the chairman of the association, Dr. Abdul Karim, said that Pakistan’s poultry sector, as a producer of primary foods, plays an important role in the country’s economy and provides low cost protein to the common man.
“Our industry uses the by-products of agricultural produce, maize and other cereals, as feed components and thus provides employment to the people and also drives the wheel of sub-sectors. Poultry not only provides excellent opportunities for food exports to neighbouring countries but also acts as a regulatory factor in controlling the prices of meat, pulses and vegetables,” he informed.
Karim said that the poultry sector had been facing deficits and losses for the last five years and due to increase in input cost, increase in feed price, devaluation of rupee, electricity bills and high bank discount rates, all sections of the business were facing huge losses.
“During all this time (the last five years) our sector has almost gone into deficit. The poultry business also faced severe difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in minimal exports of poultry products. Now the recent sharp rise in prices of petroleum products, further depreciation of the rupee and increasing load shedding have further aggravated the situation. We have brought all the current situation to the notice of the policy makers but they have shown utter indifference. This business has deteriorated to such an extent that it cannot be revived and the attitude of government agencies has further aggravated the problem of poultry farmers,” he lamented.
Kareem believed that the ‘production cost’ in the agricultural sector in general and in poultry in particular was a misrepresentation because no farmer would understand it.
“Farmers only understand their input cost which has gone up by more than 200 per cent and due to various factors, the poultry sector has been repeatedly accused of selling at exorbitant prices and profiteering for the last five years”.
Karim suggested the government, to address the situation by abolishing all import and sales taxes on imports of raw materials, chemicals and machinery used in the preparation of basic food used in the poultry sector.
“Similarly, sales tax on sale of basic food (grains), flour, meat, eggs, milk, fish, vegetables, fruits, edible oils etc. should be abolished and allow import of tax-free solar energy systems for food production enterprises and issue loans for installation of such energy systems without markup because in order to keep the poultry sector sales tax free, in fact the sales of all the primary food sectors must be tax free,” he suggested.
Later, when Profit asked if a reduction in poultry prices would be expected, Karim replied that it would be difficult to predict a reduction in poultry prices due to the rising value of the dollar and exorbitant taxes on imports.
When asked who regulated the prices of poultry, he replied that these prices were regulated by the market.
“In fact, the market [Poultry market] gives rates based on its input cost and if the input cost does not come down and everything becomes more expensive then there is a fear that the prices will not come down. However, there is no prospect of a reduction in prices right now,” he maintained.