Halal meat industry prospects

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Erum Akbar

A visiting delegation of entrepreneurs from China’s Sichuan Province led by Mr. Zhu Maa during a meeting with Minister for Narcotics Control and Safron Shehryar Khan Afridi has expressed their interest to invest in Halal meat and export it to China and Middle Eastern countries. Pakistani Halal meat industry is getting ground in international market and now the government as well as private sector is focusing on measures to produce, process and export Halal meat and meat based products by adopting halal certification and other quality assurance systems being implemented in the world to meet the demand.
Halal market is pacing up globally, in regions like Europe, Australia and North America, due to increasing Muslim population as well as food safety and quality concerns. Pakistan has still a huge demand for Halal meat and meat products export included value added chicken products from a number of nations of European Union predominantly Spain, France, Canada as well as from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
Livestock is an integral part of agriculture and holds inimitable position in national agenda of economic development in Pakistan. The livestock division is trying to ensure consumers demands of foods of animal origin such as milk, meat and eggs. Pakistan meat industry, including cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep and poultry has potential for sustainable meat supply depending on production capacity, availability of processing technologies, cold supply chain management, research and development as well as to meet changing business trends. Handling such a perishable produce in market, it is predictable that novel and innovative technologies need to be developed and applied in meat processing sector to enhance quality characteristics, extend shelf-life and storage stability. Consistent rising demand of consumer for quality meat with safety assurance has challenged meat processors, food process engineers and researchers to develop new and improved techniques for sustainable production of meat and meat products, though minimizing environmental impact.
The research and planning in context of livestock development, animal genetics and breeding services, health management and extension services is carried out under principal state organization “Ministry of National Food Security and Research”, which is further regulating organizations like Livestock and Dairy Development Board and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council further taking initiatives to take meat industry to a new level, by implementing international standards for safety and quality as well as marketing the produce to global businesses. Similarly, involvement of corporate is important step and active in supplying services for animal welfare, veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and processing equipment.
Additionally, Pakistani government is taking a number of initiatives to expand fisheries sector and enhancing its production focusing on reinforcement and improving older techniques as well as introducing innovative solutions, development of further value addition of fish and fish products that is increasing per capita fish availability and consumption and leveling up the socio-economic conditions of the fishermen’s community in Pakistan.
The major constraint of meat industry in Pakistan is lack of modern processing units. This system can be rectified by allowing only the restricted slaughtering as well as big meat processing plants. Another weakness of the Pakistani meat industry is lack of proper supply chain system, if consumer is to choose with their money they must be capable to identify what they are opting for.
Also, animal welfare is integral part of meat industry, including proper system for animal care, availability of proper feed resources, reproduction efficiency, breeding techniques and protection from diseases, bleeding methods must be properly monitored. Proper vaccination programs and disease prevention systems should be implemented to reduce losses to maximum.
Pakistan meat industry is influenced by religious beliefs and consumer choices that impact the demand of meat and meat products. As, Pakistan majority population consist of Muslims (96%) thereby, production of halal meat and meat products is prerequisite. Moreover, the demand of halal meat is increasing due to its escalating popularity and acceptance halal as a brand, therefore, Pakistan is a potential player in this context to enhance export of quality halal meat and its products. Pakistan being an agricultural and Muslim majority country has potential to rear livestock herds for better meat quality to meet ever increasing demands of halal meat.

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