KARACHI: The banning of female animals by the Punjab government may lead to the closure of several meat-exporting companies as they are already surviving with limited margins. The increase in prices will lead to the cancellation of export contracts for Pakistani companies.
“It will lead us to disaster and leave us very least competitive in the export market,” Syed Hasan Raza, chairman All-Pakistan Meat Exporters and Processors Association said in a phone interview from Lahore. “We should work on better farming instead of limiting business.” Pakistani companies are trying hard to gain contracts from abroad that will not only help companies but also earn foreign exchange for the country, he added.
Pakistan has reported an alarming reduction in the female animal population as a result of rising rates of slaughter, and the government of Punjab has banned the slaughter of female animals by enforcing The Animal Slaughter Act of 1963. Pakistan’s meat export stands around $300 million and has potential for fast growth due to the agricultural economy.
Hasan Raza said companies are also concerned about the future supply of live stocks but there should be coordination and solid steps from both the public and private sector. Such impractical banning in one area of the country will not meet the target, he added.
Recently, Pakistan’s The Organic Meat Company Limited (TOMCL) gained approval for exports from China’s customs authority to export heat-treated meat to China. The company already exports fresh, frozen, and boneless beef meat to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
TOMCL is a public limited company quoted on the PSX and was registered under the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (now the Companies Act, 2017). It is a public interest company as defined in the third schedule to the Companies Act, 2017.
“The problem is not the slaughter of female animals, but it is of productive animals,” Ali Hussain, chief operating officer of Organic Meat Company Limited said in a phone interview from Karachi. “And it is the local market that is where the most of these “Bachia” female animals are sold.” We as organized corporates share the same problem and worries as the government does. But there should be some control over local unorganized share and slaughter of these productive animals, he added.
Mr Husain said the volatility in prices due to the least regulated local market also makes it difficult for the organized business sector to maintain margins and secure export orders.