The Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) – North Zone – has said that there is an urgent need to look after the affairs of country’s poultry industry by fixing the cost of broiler meat and raw material used in producing its feed.

At a press conference on Monday, PPA Vice-Chairman Raja Attique-ur-Rehman Abbasi said that across the world exemption from duties and taxes on food processing was a norm, but in Pakistan it was not the case.

“The world is facing a food crisis and prices of food items have doubled due to Covid-19. In Pakistan, the price of corn, a raw material used to produce poultry feed, has reached Rs2,000 per 40 kg, while previously it was available at Rs1,300,” Abbasi added.

He highlighted that financial managers had slapped 17% tax on soybean, another important raw material for poultry feed, and it was expected that the price of feed would rise further.

The current price of a bag of poultry feed is Rs3,700, which has increased from Rs3,300.

“We had been labelled as a ‘mafia’ a few months ago when chicken meat prices crossed the Rs400 per kg mark, which was a temporary phase due to the ‘Newcastle’ disease; the prices for the past one month are, however, below Rs200,” Abbasi pointed out.

He added that when the rates were over Rs400 per kg, the government machinery had started raiding offices of poultry companies. “If we are a mafia, then why prices are lower now?” he questioned.

He emphasised that the demand and supply mechanism determined market prices. “Poultry farmers have been facing losses for quite some time and this will affect the entire sector since the farmers have stopped paying for feed and other allied materials.”

The association vice-chairman added that the cost of poultry production had been rising steadily for the past two years and because of that the farmers had not been getting any significant profit.

“In the current situation, the poultry farmers are facing hefty losses and have become bankrupt,” he added.

“The government should take steps to address their problems and announce a relief package,” Abbasi said, adding that due to the high cost of production, Pakistani poultry products could not be exported despite being competitive enough.

According to the association, at present, a poultry bird is being raised on poultry farms at around Rs198 per kg, but it is being sold at Rs110 per kg live.

In other words, the farmers are losing Rs3.6 million per flock and in this situation, they will be forced to close the farms. “As a result, there is a risk that chicken meat will become scarce if the farms close,” he warned.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2021.

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