LAHORE: Poultry industry on Monday asked government to allow export of meat and eggs to Afghanistan as Pakistan has potential to fill a supply gap created after a sharp decline in Iran’s exports to the war-torn country.

“Pakistan Poultry Association has requested the federal government to include Chicken meat and eggs in the list of export items to Afghanistan,” Chaudhary Muhammad Fargham, vice chairman PPA (Northern Region), said in a statement.

According to an estimate, Afghanistan imports up to 30 percent of eggs and meat for meeting its domestic requirements. The main exporting countries are Pakistan and Iran. Poultry imports from Iran has been hit by outbreak of COVID19 and subsequent closing of borders. Fargham said Pakistan poultry sector supplies prime quality protein food in the form of poultry meat and eggs, at a very affordable price.

“The annual turnover of this sector stands at over Rs800 billion, while it gives employment to over 1.5 million people directly and indirectly,” the PPA official said.

Khaleeq Arshad, another official of PPA, said Pakistan poultry industry has been producing quality as well as affordable products despite facing various challenges included high cost of production. Arshad stressed the need to introduce adequate measures to reduce the cost of production of industry in general as well as for processed poultry and its products for local as well export purpose.

The local poultry industry had steadily been entering into regional markets including Middle East, Arshad said, adding that several key players were successfully meeting the demand of multinational food chains working within the country. According to an official estimate, the current investment in poultry industry is more than Rs700 billion. This industry is progressing at an impressive growth rate of 8 to 10 percent per annum over last few years. Pakistan has become the 11th largest poultry producer in the world with the production of 1,163 million broilers annually. Poultry today has been a balancing force to keep check on the prices of mutton and beef.