LAHORE - Pakistan can increase its meat exports to $5 billion per annum from the present level if meat exporters are given incentives, including the provision of soft loans, land on lease for breeding and fattening farms, and subsidies to enter new markets.
Pakistan is currently exporting meat and meat products worth $500 million out of which products worth $300 million are being exported from Lahore. All Pakistan Meat Exporters and Processors Association (APMEPA) submitted an action plan to Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi recently aimed at increasing meat exports from the country by five times.
APMEPA President Mian Abdul Hannan led the 21-member delegation which met the Punjab caretaker Chief Minister and Minister for Livestock and discussed ways and means to increase the meat exports. Mian Abdul Hannan told here on Thursday that besides various other proposals, they asked the provincial rulers to abolish undue taxes being extorted from the livestock farmers in animal markets and set up FMD (Foot & Mouth Disease) free compartments in the province as most of the markets for Pakistan were closed due to this disease. They said that Pakistan had already reached stage 2 of the FMD control, unless Pakistan reaches stage 3 and 4, most of the destinations would not open. Without achieving these stages, Pakistani products could not reach to high-end markets with bigger potential. The chief minister immediately ordered to take steps for snubbing those elements extorting unjustifiable taxes from the livestock farmers and setting up of the FMD free compartments. Similarly, association submitted that China had already given approval to export to China for existing Pakistani export abattoirs with cooked/heat treatment facilities. Now, next step was to get approval of chilled and frozen categories. However, it needed to setup disease free compartments and such a compartment had already been approved by Chinese govt near Sheikhupura. The Association requested that such compartments should be replicated in S Punjab.
Another long standing demand of the meat exporters was also the part of this set of proposals that was to put a ban on slaughtering of female animals and ensuring its strict compliance as it was threatening the future supplies of animals and such a ban should spread all over the country.
The exporters also requested for setting up quarantine offices at all airports, dry ports and seaports working round the clock. They also asked for increasing the manpower in quarantine department which plays a pivotal role in meat exports.
The exporters also demanded either banning or putting some limitation on export of animal feed as it was necessary to bring down the raising cost of the animals. They also demanded subsidized energy tariff for their sector as meat could not be exported without freezing thus being a major input cost.
Mian Abdul Hannan said they also demanded that the government should abolish sales tax on branded retailed packed meat products as this segment gets incompetitive against the informal/undocumented sector. Another suggestion was that to levy sales tax across the board to provide a level playing field to the documented and formal sector.