Wheat competition in Pakistan

16-10-2007 | |

Officials of the Pakistan food and agriculture ministry have suggested importing fodder quality wheat to release pressure on available wheat stocks in the country that are being used as poultry feed apart from human consumption.

The poultry feed sector in Pakistan is face to face with flourmills in
lifting wheat stocks. Chicken and people are feeding on the same staple creating
a supply issue and destabilising prices.

The Ministry of Food,
Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) has suggested importing low quality wheat for
poultry feed and diverting local wheat back to flourmills instead of chicken
farms.

Poultry farmers currently are rearing their flocks on wheat, which
is a subsidised commodity in Pakistan.

However, the subsidy paid for the
wheat from taxpayers pocket rarely gets to benefit the poverty stricken
populace, the lower middle class particularly the daily wagers that find it hard
to buy flour for two meals a day as the prices of the commodity had touched a
record level.

Chicken competes for food
The poor mans
competitor for wheat purchases is the chicken, which is mostly eaten by middle
to higher income groups. The lower and lower-middle income groups rarely get to
afford the taste of broiler meat.

After price hike of maize and broken
rice the poultry feed makers switched to wheat, which is relatively
cheaper.

Now all the poultry feed manufacturers have switched over to
wheat from the old sources as the wheat is cheaper.

Last years, poultry
feed makers used 1.3 million tonnes of wheat as livestock feeds while for the
current year MINFAL estimates suggests that wheat for poultry feed purpose would
be around 2 million tonnes.

Correspondents



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