Eid al-Adha Festival boosting Pakistan’s livestock market
by Karim Ali
LAHORE, Jul 20 (Gwadar pro)-Pakistan’s livestock market is witnessing a boom amid the Eid al-Adha Festival.
In Lahore alone, twelve cattle markets have been set up, out of which eleven are for Eid only.
But not all consumers can strike a satisfactory deal.
In a goat market, Qaiser Naveed has been wandering for three days but he is unable to reach any deal.
“All the merchants are demanding 2.5 to 3 lakh for their animals. These animals are beautiful but their prices are out of my range”, he told Gwadar pro. Compared with previous years, the prices of goat have nearly doubled.
The same is the case with bull, cattle, buffalo, and camel.
Price hike: thorn in the flesh
“For animals of the same physique, what we bought for 1 lakh last year are now selling at 2 or 2.5 lakh”, complained Abdul Latif, who intended to purchase two bulls but could only find one that cost him below 1.5 lakh.
On the other side, sellers are unwilling to concede. “I have bought it for 2 lakh and 25 thousand rupees from my village. We spend around 5 thousand rupees for decoration. Here the customer are asking for less than two lakh. It is a loss for me”, explained camel seller Ahsan Ullah.
Behind the price hike are animal shortage and inflation.
“The reason is that there is an excessive export of meat. We are exporting to Iran, Afghanistan and everywhere”, said Suhail, a meat shopkeeper in Karachi.
Supply shortage is further complicated by storing of meat and increasing demand in marriage halls. “In a huge wedding, 50 to 60 kilograms of meat are consumed. I suggested adding biryani and kabab as meat dishes”, recommended meat shop owner Haji Mushtaq.
According to statistics published by Trading Economics, Pakistan’s inflation rates stands at around 10% for three consecutive months from April to June this year. As a meat buyer finds, “Since last year, the prices of meat rose around 300% but the income of a common man has risen even less than 20%”.
Pakistan’s inflation rate Jul 2020-Jun 2021. Source: tradingeconomics.com
Market and health: cures for problem
Driven by technological advancement and Covid-19 restrictions, more customers are turning to online market, which reduces the risk of infection and lowers the cost for both the sellers and the buyers. “When customers buy animals directly from the markets, then the rates are high, but when they purchase it online, then the rates decrease”, observed goat farmer Zafar Sajjad.
“We have shifted to online system and our sale has increased online. Instead of coming physically at our sale points, people are buying them online now. The rate is fixed. We are selling at the rate of 900 to 950rs per kg”, Sajjad introduced.
Another aspect to set sight on is livestock health. In particular, foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a prominent issue plaguing Pakistani animals, incurring drastic fall in meat production and huge economic losses.
In this regard, China is helping Pakistan establish FMD free zones in Punjab and Balochistan following the successful implementation of FMD Free Zone agreement signed with China in 2019 to ensure the health of livestock.
“China is actively promoting the construction of foot-and-mouth disease free zones and helping Pakistan bring beef and mutton products into the Chinese market,” said Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong on the Webinar on China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation Prospects held in December, 2020.
“Under the FMD Free Zone framework, Pakistanis and Chinese firms will form JVs while the Chinese firms will also set up plants to manufacture vaccines in Pakistan.” According to He Cheng, Professor at College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, two types of Chinese vaccines for FMD had already been registered in Pakistan.
In addition, a certification regime for livestock farms and meat will also be established, which holds the potential to enhance livestock health and boost Pakistan’s meat exports up to $12-15 billion.