FAISALABAD: After the drop in cotton crop by up to 30% this year, poultry is likely to emerge as the country’s largest industry, said University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the International Seminar on Poultry Diseases, organised jointly by the Department of Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and World Veterinary Poultry Association.
“Poultry had become the second largest sector of the country after cotton,” Khan said, adding “this year, unluckily the cotton crop suffered the devastating impact of climate change and diseases, suffering a loss of 4 million bales.”
As a result, he believes, poultry would emerge as the largest sector of the country.
The poultry sector worth Rs700 billion provides employment to 1.6 million people across the country. “Poultry is the most affordable source of animal protein for the consumers, contributing 40% to the country’s total meat consumption,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of poultry in food security and agriculture, Khan highlighted the establishment of a Rs600-million government-funded sub-campus by the UAF in Toba Tek Singh for poultry development.
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences former vice chancellor Dr Talat Pasha underlined the export potential that the poultry sector had. Talking about value addition, he discussed the importance of curbing diseases in order to meet international standards of the poultry industry.
“The agriculture sector confronts various challenges which need to be seriously dealt with in order to ensure food security in the country,” said Pasha, noting the poultry sector’s growth rate at 10%.
Faculty of Veterinary Sciences Dean Dr Zafar Iqbal also discussed the huge untapped potential in the poultry industry.
Calling for following international standards, Iqbal asserted that poultry was one of the best sources of energy and could help Pakistan deal with issues of food security and malnutrition.
Pakistan Veterinary Poultry Association President Hanif Zaher also spoke on the occasion and noted that Pakistan’s poultry sector was ranked as the world’s seventh largest.
News source: The Express Tribune