The poultry industry
sector has been growing at around 8-10pc despite
occasional hiccups like the withdrawal of tax
exemption on poultry feed and preferential treatment
to poultry meat imports for foreign fast food
They say that the KP
ban on exports of poultry products has renewed a
debate on how provinces and the federation should
strike a better working relationship in matters over
which both have one kind of control or the other.
Agriculture (of which poultry sector is a part) and
pricing of essential commodities are provincial
subjects. So, provincial authorities can do things
to safeguard local interests of one sub-sector of
agriculture or the other.
Similarly, they can
take administrative steps to ensure price stability.
This is the key argument offered by the KP
authorities for banning exports of poultry products
But poultry industryís contention is that if a
provincial decision can potentially affect the
working of a national industry or its exports then
that decision has to be taken after taking the
industry representatives and the federal authorities
Poultry is a big
industry and any blow to its smooth working can
directly affect lives of hundreds of thousands of
people associated with it besides having an impact
on millions of local consumers indirectly.
ďWhether itís KP or
Punjab or Sindh or Balochistan, the point is no
province can be allowed to make unilateral decisions
in the areas where consequences of the decision can
hit the entire nation,Ē says a former chairman of
Extending this line of argument, one can question
several other provincial decisions that ultimately
have a bearing on national economic arena.
For example, slower
release of officially-subsidised wheat to flour
mills by the Punjab food department last year is
worrying wheat growers that their projected bumper
crop this year would fetch low prices.
Or, the row over
sugarcane support prices in Sindh has already
affected both the growers and sugar millers alike.
Similarly, a large
paddy crop hasnít been of any good for growers who
are forced to sell rice at below market prices in
the absence of a just-for-all pricing mechanism for
non-Basmati prices in Sindh and Punjab.
Coming back to poultry sector, the provinces
particularly KP need extra care in making any move
to try to regulate prices of poultry products
without first addressing the issue of smuggling.
The same is true in
case of live domestic animals whose smuggling via KP
and Balochistan to Afghanistan and Iran continue to
harm meat and dairy sectors.
Some poultry farmers say though the issue of KP ban
on exports of poultry products to Kabul merits
attention of policy makers, a broader question
relates to modernisation of the poultry sector and
development of a bigger export base.
Poultry productsí exports have never touched $5m
mark despite huge, growing demand for them in
Afghanistan, Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia
and North Africa.
They say that from
poultry birds breeding to their slaughtering to
grading and packaging of poultry meat fit for
exports, all need investment.
But banks offer
credit only to a few selected large poultry farms
and poultry meat processors. That impedes
exploitation of full potential of the poultry