Talking About Poultry Industry of Pakistan
The 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 the last few decades and today enjoys the status of the second largest industry in Pakistan after textiles. 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 into the background of poultry in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the concept of commercial poultry rearing, hatching, and feed milling was not known until a few decades ago. The backyard poultry was the only source of enriched animal protein. In backyard rearing, we didn’t have real growing or laying birds. In fact, the birds were not kept for any kind of financial gain, rather rear poultry was like rearing kids. I mean they were only reared and cared whether they are profitable or not.
It was the start of the 6th decade of the 20th century when the Government of Pakistan felt the need for an intensive Poultry rearing program by keeping in view the increased demand for 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 government officials and the rearing or any kind of business relating to poultry was announced to be Tax exempted. The first hatchery was then established in Karachi. Our government supported the poultry industry in all aspects that helped the industry to develop rapidly.
As Poultry was new in the region, disease problems were obviously expected also, therefore in the early ’90s Gumboro hits Broiler & Layer flocks and parent stock suffered heavy mortality resulting in great economical losses. After that incident 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 (Abbottabad and Mansera), where the mortality rate went up to 80% and the industry again suffered grave losses. Again in the very next year in 1996 due to the 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 downfall misery continued till 1997 when a ban on marriage food was imposed which reduced the consumption of poultry products by 40%.
The late 90s led to a phase of stability in the poultry industry and farmers got good profit margins. New investors rushed into poultry farming by adopting the new techniques of environment control houses and the 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 poultry overall flourished till 2004. In 2004 Avian Influenza hit South East Asia and Pakistan’s Poultry Industry suffered heavily due to its rumours. The imposition of a ban on imports of poultry products by Middle East countries made things more miserable. This scary condition of the industry is yet to prevail. We experienced a 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 ups and downs are with every industry but the poultry industry of Pakistan witnesses 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 the 2nd Largest Industry in Pakistan.