The Ministry of Commerce on Thursday announced that it is imposing a ban on the export of meat and live animals for three months, a move that would affect thousands of poor farmers. An official announcement said that the Minister of Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim has decided to impose a ban on the export of meat and live animals to control the price hike in meat and live animals.
HELPING FLOOD VICTIMS?
The Commerce Minister wanted to impose ban on the export of live animals because of the same reason last year after the floods. However, the Ministries of Livestock and Agriculture opposed the move saying that it would adversely affect the flood victims. Sources said that the Minister has sought to impose the ban again after the defunct ministry of livestock was merged with the Commerce Ministry. Since the agriculture ministry too was devolved there was no chance of any opposition from any quarter. However, he said that the move would affect thousands of poor people in the rural areas who reap dividends by selling their cattle during Ramazan and at Eid-ul-Azha. He said that the imposing a ban on meat was confusing as the few investors have made inroads in the Middle East markets would suffer huge losses and eventually be forced out. Smuggling would continue to Afghanistan despite the ban it would only result in an increase in corruption on the border.
DECREASE IN PRICES?
The source said the decision would not lead to decrease in the prices of meat and animals but would rather increase prices in the longer term, as it would not be financially feasible for poor people to keep animals for livelihood. The poor will be adversely affected by the decision as middle men would exploit this situation, the source said adding that it would cost the ruling PPP in the upcoming general elections. The statement quoted the minister as saying that there were several other factors contributing to the decision, which include death of 1.5 million animals due to devastating flood of 2010 and animal smuggling to various neighboring countries. He expressed serious concerns over a huge increase in price of mutton from Rs271 to Rs.406 and beef from Rs154 per kg t Rs 241 per kg from 2008-09 and 2010-11, respectively.
Therefore, keeping in view the holy month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Azha, the minister took this bold step and has imposed a ban for three months. He further stated that this would help in bridging the demand-supply gap and bring meat and animal prices down so that poor people can also afford these commodities. He said a number of mega projects have also been initiated in the country to increase the production of livestock.
Historically, Ministry of Commerce has always been in favor of exporting value added products like meat, meat products and finished leather goods as the export of live animals effects local meat and leather industry adversely. Therefore, he stated that the government is in the process of establishing Halal Food Certification System in Pakistan, which will allow it to earn $600 billion in foreign exchange. It is to be noted that a total number of 95,523 live animals have been exported from July 2010 to March 2011.