Implications of budget 2017-18 on livestock discussed

The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, chaired a meeting on Federal Budget 2017-18 in the (UVAS) syndicate room to discuss the implications with particular reference to Livestock sector here on Tuesday. The faculty members, representatives from PPA (Pakistan Poultry Association), Dairy industry and farmer community attended the discussion session and gave their suggestions.

The meeting recommended enhancing import duty on whey milk and powdered milk at least 75%. It was also recommended that Fisheries, Poultry and Red meat sectors should be included in the zero rated sectors. It was suggested by representative of PPA that the government should give package for poultry meat processing industry, as this industry is swiftly moving towards processing era. He further added that special incentive package should be introduced to reduce the cost of poultry feed ingredients which was increased substantially back in 2013. He pointed out that heavy import duties/taxes on main feed ingredients are badly affecting the poultry feed industry of Pakistan. Talking about the accuracy of numerical figures of recent Economic survey, he reiterated that the whole planning depends on these figures thus he proposed that Government should cross verify these facts and figures by giving research projects to UVAS Business School.

The representative from dairy industry expressed their concern that in this budget even the name of dairy industry or livestock sector was not explicitly mentioned which is not fair for this very important sector. He further added that Dairy processing sector is at last verge of its viability and prudent policies must be adopted to safeguard it. Likewise, Professor Dr Talat Pasha emphasised on taking necessary steps to revive the poor farmers who are being crushed based on the fact that they are not given due share for long struggle of dairy farming.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor expressed the importance of such discussion and said that it is the responsibility of universities to explore and debate on such aspects of Budget for the larger benefit of society. He also emphasised the impact of Policy research paper on import of whey milk/powdered milk on the Budget by which the duty was 25% increased. He said that livestock is major source of livelihood of poor farmers and key to revival of the crisis-hit agriculture sector, therefore we need to focus on the profitability of small holder farmers. He further emphasised that this must be enhanced to at least 75%. Furthermore, the house gave a couple of other recommendations. It was recommended that three sub-sectors including Red meat, Fisheries and Poultry must also be added in zero rating related sectors.