ISLAMAABAD - Keeping in view the soaring prices of meat and its products in the country, the Commerce Ministry Thursday imposed ban on the exports of meat and live animals for a period of three months. A ban has been on imposed on export of meat and live animals by the Ministry of Commerce, stated Senior Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim while taking serious notice of increasing prices of meat and live animals. He observed that there are several other factors contributing to higher prices that included death of 1.5 million animals due to devastating flood of 2010 and animal smuggling to various neighbouring countries. The federal minister expressed serious concerns over a huge increase in price of mutton from Rs 271 per kg to Rs 406 per kg and beef from Rs 154 per kg to Rs 241 per kg from 2008-09 and 2010-11 respectively. Therefore, keeping in view the holy month of Ramazan and Eid-ul-Azha not being far away, the minister took this step and imposed a ban on exports for three months. He further stated that this would help in bridging the demand-supply gap and bring meat and animal prices down so that poor people can also consume them. He also stressed on controlling the smuggling of meat and animals as well. He further stated that a number of mega projects have also been initiated in the country to increase the production of livestock under the Strategy of Public-Private Partnership, National Economic Growth, Poverty Alleviation, Food Security, Improve Livestock Service Delivery, Expand opportunities for Farmer Livelihood, and Enhance Foreign Exchange Earnings. Historically, Ministry of Commerce has always been in favour of exporting value added products like meat, meat products and finished leather goods as the export of live animals affects local meat and leather industry badly. Therefore, he stated that the Government is in the process of establishing Halal Food Certification System in Pakistan, which will allow it earn $600 billion in foreign exchange. It is to be noted that a total number of 95,523 live animals have been exported during 2010-11 (July-March) period.