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Low Livestock Productivity

News From : DagangHalal.com (31 Jul 2009)

LAHORE: A 50 per cent subsidy on Halal certification provided by the government is unlikely to boost Pakistan’s penetration into the $750 billion global Halal market as despite a huge potential the country is a net importer of meat due to below par breeding of livestock.

Livestock experts say the country first needs to strengthen its livestock productivity before offering Halal certification subsidy. They point out that Pakistan has almost 160 million animals including 30 million cows, 31 million buffaloes, 56 million goats, 40 million sheep and one million camels. However, productivity of these animals is much below global standards. They say this is the reason that the country imports more meat from India than it exports to Gulf countries.

A livestock farmer, Mian Obaidullah, said Halal meat trade was expected to rise from current around $800 billion to $1 trillion by 2010. He said it would grow further because Muslim population was projected to account for 30 per cent of the world’s population by 2025.

However, “it is regrettable that except for Malaysia, Halal certification is available from non-Muslim countries only. Why can’t Pakistan issue Halal certificates by establishing its own certification company under the mechanism of public-private partnership,” he asked.

Livestock expert and former Punjab minister Mumtaz Khan Manhais said the livestock, particularly cows and buffaloes, was not provided food rich in fat and they remained under-nourished till maturity. “Fifty per cent of buffaloes and cows die before reaching maturity as farmers consider them useless and do not provide milk of their mothers.”

In Punjab alone, he said, seven million buffaloes were added to the flock of livestock every year, out of which half died because of under-nourishment. “Those that survive are weak and the meat obtained after their slaughter is much less than their actual potential.”

“This is the reason that despite slaughtering these 3.5 million animals plus three million aged animals, there is a short supply of meat in the market which is supplemented by imports from India.”

He said meat exports from Pakistan had been erratic as whenever prices rose in the local market the government imposed a ban on its exports. Moreover, the importing countries also periodically slapped a ban on meat imports from Pakistan because of unhygienic conditions at slaughter houses.

“If we adopt better breeding methods, half of the buffaloes that die every year could survive and add substantially to meat production and create a substantial export surplus,” he added.

Halal certification is granted for a period of one year and that can be extended. It is mandatory for slaughter houses to attain this certificate. They are charged inspector fee, travel expenses, equipment and administration costs. Alternatively, a flat rate may be applied which will include inspector fee, travel, administration and equipment costs. However, the flat rate will be based on the production capacity of the plant. For instance, two to three cents per chicken and 14 to 20 cents per lamb/sheep at large plants.

By Mansoor Ahmad
Source: The International News
Link: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=190696

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