Poultry industry has very strong roots in Pakistan as we just can’t see our dinner or lunch without chicken. That’s the main reason that the poultry industry flourished in last few decades and today enjoys the status of the second largest industry of Pakistan after textile. Now, the point is that what could be the reasons for one industry to develop at such a faster pace in a region? So, answering the question requires us to look in to the back ground of poultry in Pakistan.
In Pakistan the concept of commercial poultry rearing, hatching and feed milling was not known few decades ago. The back yard poultry was the only source of enriched animal protein. In back yard rearing we didn’t have the real growing or laying birds. In fact the birds were not kept for any kind of financial gains, rather to rear poultry was like rearing kids. I mean they were only reared and cared either they are profitable or not.
It was the start of 6th decade of the 20th century, when the Government of Pakistan felt the need of intensive Poultry rearing program by keeping in view the increased demand of white meat due to heavy growth in our population. So, it was in 1962 when Commercial Poultry was initially introduced in Pakistan by M/S Shaver’s of Canada with the help of PIA and that led to the formation of the PIA Shaver with the poultry sector. In its embryonic stages became a blue eyed to the government officials and the rearing or any kind of business relating poultry was announced to be Tax exempted. The first hatchery was then established in Karachi. Our government supported poultry industry in all aspects that helped the industry to develop rapidly.
As the Poultry was new in the region, the disease problems were obviously expected also, therefore in early 90’s Gumboro hits Broiler & Layer flocks and parent stock suffered heavy mortality resulting in great economical losses. After that incidence the efforts were made to get things on track by addressing Vaccination and Bio-Security issues very religiously. The shock was yet fresh in the mind of the farmers and Poultry entrepreneurs when in mid 90’s the new disease caught the Parent Flocks in the Northern Areas (Abbotabad and Mansera), where the mortality rate went up to 80% and the industry again suffered grave losses .Again in very next year in 1996 due to increased number of parent stock, the prices of chicken products fell down even below the cost of its production and the farmers again suffered heavy losses. This down fall misery continued till 1997 and ban on marriage food was imposed which reduced the consumption of poultry products by 40%.
Late 90’s led to the phase of stability in the poultry industry and farmers got good profit margin. New investors rushed into the poultry farming by adopting the new techniques of environment control houses and industry shifted from traditional conventional open houses to Semi and completely closed automated houses where the intensive rearing is done under one roof. In this transformation the industry shared huge investments from multinationals and the poultry over all flourished till 2004. In 2004 Avian Influenza hit the South East Asia and Pakistan Poultry Industry suffered heavily due its rumours. Imposition of ban on imports of poultry products by Middle East countries made things more miserable. This scary condition of the industry is yet prevailing. We experienced hike in the poultry market for a few months and then a long phase of depression due to selling our products below the cost of production.
The Up’s and Down’s are with every industry but poultry industry of Pakistan witness that quite too often. That’s why the industry is so very unpredictable but due to high profits and early returns it is still enjoying its place as 2nd Largest Industry of Pakistan.