The verbal public sparring between the federal government and the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) continues through advertisements and media campaigns on the issue of importing genetically modified organism (GMO) soybean.
The federal minister for national food security, briefing the media about the decision of the cabinet, said that the import of GMO soybean was not allowed in the country, and the ships that are currently anchored in Karachi with this type of soybean should be redirected.
In this regard, the minister also mentioned the government’s responsibility under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. What the minister is trying to implement today is politically unpopular, but is in line with the said protocol.
On its part, the PPA says that the price of chicken is increasing in the country because of unavailability of feed meant for chicken consumption in which soybean happens to be an essential ingredient. The poultry industry is facing a serious crisis if the ships anchored in Karachi are not allowed to unload the consignment.
It should be noted that the PPA, which is currently placing advertisements in national media in an effort to safeguard its interests, has in the past itself promoted anti-competitive practices within the industry.
In this regard, the Supreme Court has recently decided an important case, partially upholding a decision of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) against the menace of cartelisation in the poultry industry. The CCP authorities should further investigate the affairs of PPA and its members to probe recent price hike of eggs and chicken meat in the country.
DR HAFIZ AZIZ UR REHMAN