Lahore: Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has failed to implement a promised poultry tariff policy, instead allowing poultry tycoons to monopolise the market, according to a university economist.
“The government restrains the small seller from selling chicken at a high price, but permits those owning processing plants to sell poultry at whatever rate they feel fit,” Qais Aslam, Professor of Economics at the University of Central Punjab, told News Lens Pakistan.
“Should we believe that the farmer and the sellers who are restrained by the rate list are compromising on quality?”
During the post-budget speech for financial year 2016-17, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, promised that the prices of live poultry and poultry meat would not increase beyond Rs 145 and 199 per kilogram respectively.
But even if the government brings poultry prices down by restraining ordinary suppliers, other suppliers still sell poultry through a chain of outlets at Rs 450/Kg.
Aslam said the government was robbing the poor to feed the rich.
Processing plants that include the supply chain from farming animals to packaging the meat and storing them in the chiller are set up at an average cost of Rupees 4 billion.
The former chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association, Abdul Basit, said the poultry pricing mechanism was flawed.
“Instead of capping the price, the government should have announced Rs 145 as an average price on which chicken could be sold throughout the year, with a margin to allow for adjustments in the supply and demand of chicken,” Basit told News Lens Pakistan.
“A consumer gets only 45 per cent meat from a live chicken, the remaining 55 per cent is a waste. In reality the customer pays Rs 240/kg even for live poultry.”
Basit said the government had coerced farmers into accepting the rates by threatening to tax poultry feed.
Poultry seller Muhammad Shafaqat said at Rs 145 per kilogram, the consumer was not getting exactly one kilogram of meat.
“The buyer ends up paying more than Rs 240 for one kilogram of chicken,” Shafaqat told News Lens Pakistan.
Aslam said the government was neglecting control of quality and hygiene.
“I am sure that at Rs 145-200/kg, consumers are getting sub-standard chicken.
“The right approach would be for the government to regulate the quality of the product by supervising the supply chain. By controlling price and not quality, the door is open for adulteration,” he told News Lens Pakistan.