Poultry price hike to create food security problems: ex-minister

June 18, 2015 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Thursday said survival of Rs 700 billion poultry industry is at stake due to 25 percent additional taxes imposed in the recent budget.

Revised taxes will not darken the future of the thriving industry but also deprive masses of the cheapest source of animal protein while government will have to face issues like unemployment and food security.

Talking to a delegation of poultry farmers, he said that beef is costly, mutton is out of reach of majority while the consumption of fish in Pakistan is two kg per capita which is lowest in the world. The situation has left around 90 percent of the population to rely on poultry to get animal protein which is 10 percent lower than the normal limit in an average person.

He said that poultry industry is growing by 10 to 12 percent annually despite all odds which must be protected lest it push millions into health crisis. The veteran business leader said that per capita egg consumption in developed countries stands at 300 to 400 eggs while the rate is 60 in Pakistan which needs to be improved.

US provides subsidy to 360 billion dollars on food products to keep its population healthy, Saudi Arabia gives 50 percent subsidy on poultry products while Pakistan has acted otherwise which is detrimental to the health of the industry as well as masses. He said that decent, healthy and sufficient diet has already reached out of the buying power of the masses which has resulted in disease, low productivity and compromised growth rate.

The worst affected are poor mothers who are compromising on their food to feed their children, he said, adding that government should take back the decision to slap taxes on this industry which will also save millions of jobs linked to that industry. Hussain said that lack of protein is linked to weakness, irritation, swelling, restlessness, skin, respiratory and heart diseases.