Pakistan: Red meat export potential exists to cross $500m

Tanvir Siddiqi Pakistan Observer

Islamabad—Red meat export from the country has the potential to surpass US$ 500 million mark during next five years by complying with the international codes which is presently stood at around US$ 100 million.

Between 2001 and 2009, the global beef trade grew at an average of 10.4 per cent to reach just over $30 billion, according to data available from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Member Export Committee of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Ahmad Jawad said in a statement issued said that it looks very pathetic that Pakistan’s market share within this rapidly growing market is only 2.9 per cent.

However, he said Pakistani exporters seem to be determined to make up for the lost time. During last six years Pakistani red meat exports have risen by an average of 68.6 per cent a year.

Jawad said that the Halal food market, at just over $640 billion a year worldwide, is one of the largest opportunities in the food and agribusiness sector and plays to the unique advantages of being based out of Pakistan.

Halal and organic are now used interchangeably, fueling the growth of the former more strongly. Halal meat is also one of the fastest growing segments within the global food trade.

With the advent of more and more new players and with surprisingly robust support from the government, Pakistan is set to become one of the largest players in the meat trade, at least within the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

He informed that three countries with the largest market shares are Australia, Brazil and India, each of which has considerably higher shipping costs to these export markets compared to Pakistan that can get benefit of it.

“Pakistan has extraordinary natural strengths, the country also faces infrastructure shortcomings which alter the ability of many Pakistani businesses to effectively compete against firms from Australia, Brazil or even India,” he added.

Taking the tentative first steps towards becoming a major international player in the Halal food industry in which the country has a strong competitive advantage the global red meat trade and can earn a huge foreign exchange.