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The Competition Commission of Pakistan has called for a public-private partnership to run the government slaughterhouses in a bid to increase efficiency and quality of the meat produced.
The CCP says that public private partnerships would also improve farmer access to animal mandis (markets).
In a new study that has severely criticised the current standards within the Pakistan meat sector, the CCP has also recommended that price setting, which takes place every six to 12 months, needs to be regulated during the interim periods and meat prices should be based on both the quality of the meat and its grading.
The study was conducted as part of the assessments the CCP undertakes to understand competition issues in sectors that have implications for consumers.
Meat is one of the heaviest weighed essential food items in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and the CCP said that the livestock sector fulfils the country’s meat, milk and poultry demand.
The CCP highlighted ineffective price and quality monitoring at the district level that result in high price and low quality of meat that affects both urban and rural consumers as one of the main failures of the country’s meat sector.
Smuggling of animals to neighbouring Afghanistan is also an issue that affects availability at affordable price to domestic consumers.
The report says that meat production in Pakistan is mostly an unregulated informal activity and the industry is marred by many challenges including the low yield per animal, poor animal feed, lack of awareness among livestock breeders related to breeds and veterinary care, and disease control.
Also, poor slaughtering methods and lack of accessibility to the Animal Mandis (markets) leads to low quality of meat products and excessive pricing.
The report says that establishing new slaughterhouses and improving facilities at the existing ones is necessary to ensure quality safeguards.
Moreover, increasing the accessibility of farmers to the Animal Mandis is essential for providing quality meat to the consumers at reasonable prices.
Another market identified by CCP is the growing international demand for Halal meat and meat products.
The demand for Halal meat has been growing globally. Pakistan produces 100 per cent Halal meat and export of halal meat and meat products can be a significant source of foreign exchange earnings.
The CCP acknowledged the efforts of the Government, especially the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, which has undertaken certain regulatory measures to encourage the livestock sector and for the establishment of value added meat market in the country.
The study, which is out for public consultation, is available on the Commission’s website.