LAHORE: De-regulation of meat prices in local market is a prerequisite to improve the product’s supply in the country and to increase the country’s share in the $1.3 billion global Halal food trade, said a study.

“The first and fundamental step for increasing meat export is to de-cap price in the local market,” the Center for Applied Policy Research in Livestock at University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) said in the research study.

The research paper, titled ‘Pakistan Meat Exports: Strategising Productivity Enhancement’ was conducted after gathering inputs from all the stakeholders. Outlining short, medium and long term measures for enhancing share in global meat market, the study said the local market of meat has been developing at a very slow pace because of price capping.

It said Pakistan’s meat exports have a huge potential in the world. The country’s geographical location favours livestock farming. Pakistan has a significant number of animals, reasonable number of meat processors/abattoirs, and exporters but the bottleneck is lack of effective marketing and supply chain, it added.

The study said global Halal food trade is estimated at approximately $1.3 billion a year, which was $0.5 billion five to six years ago.  The policy paper highlights the country’s meat export scenarios within the existing resources, including farmers, meat processors, exporters, supply chain management, marketing approaches and funds.

It said local exporters are vying for 8-10 percent share in global carcass (meat with bones) market, but neglecting 90-92 percent share of frozen boneless and value-added meat products internationally.

India has become the world’s largest exporter of meat products in 2017 with 1,925,000 metric tonnes exports, largely comprising boneless meat, while China’s growing population and demand for food products have made the country one of the world’s biggest importers of meat/meat products of 950,000 metric tonnes, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The animal protein consumption by human will rise to 37-kilogramme by 2030 from the present 25.5-kg.

The center recommended short-term measures, including complete identification of meat in local market indicating its source and international standardisation of meat products in assistance with UVAS.

The research study called for a ban on export of less than 150-kg carcass, terming it vital to enhance output of every single animal being exported and increase meat output of each animal.

It also stressed a need to establish backward linkages of meat exporters with feedlot farmers for consistent export of quality meat, in addition to registration of feedlot fattening farms with meat processing and exporters association along with livestock departments for traceability.

Efficient customs and quarantine assistance through sea shipments are also required along with credit insurance for exporters and establishment of a database of feedlot farmers registered with an authority connecting exporters for supply chain development.

The study also called for a national policy for eradication of foot and mouth disease to enable export to countries, like Indonesia, Russia, China and Brunei.  Easy loans are also needed to set up a supply chain from feedlot farmer to local meat brands and/or meat exporters.

It also highlighted the importance of establishing disease free zones to produce healthy and disease free meat products as per the international standards. The study attaches the topmost importance to breed improvement and establishment of a meat product development center at UVAS, which can develop ready to cook meat products. Top meat exporters can be provided with subsidy on taxation/duties as incentives and motivation for others, it said.

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