The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore arranged two separates consultative stakeholder video conferences on challenges of efficient food supply chain of dairy, poultry and meat in Punjab during COVID-19 emergency here at City Campus Lahore.
The Minister for Livestock & Dairy Development Department Punjab Sardar Husnain Bahadur Dareshak presided over the meeting and discussed issues, challenges which effect livestock sector, sought recommendation/suggestions and technical inputs from stakeholder for formulation of policies/plans for smooth supply chain to catering the needs of country especially during COVID-19 emergency to safe guard the farmers for their profitability.
UVAS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Animal Sciences Bahawalpur, Additional Secretary (Technical) Livestock & Dairy Development Department Punjab Dr Iqbal Shahid, Prof Dr Muhammad Sajjad Khan and many stakeholders from public and private dairy, meat and poultry sectors across Punjab, academicians, researchers and officials from Livestock Department participated in meeting through video link.
Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha urged livestock department to start a media campaign for awareness of the general public that milk, meat and eggs consumption is not only safe but also significantly help in boosting immune system for effectively combating the corona virus. This is extremely important to enhance consumption of livestock and poultry products to achieve better immunity in general public as well as ensuring economic safeguard of farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Livestock Sardar Husnain Bahadur Dareshak supported all steps of the participants of meeting. He said our Home Department play a vital role in the continuation of supply chain in country to cater the need of public especially during lockdown.
Prof Nasim Ahmad said that there should be an emergent need of special relief for livestock in Prime Minister`s Relief Package. Further more he emphasized that, being think tank, UVAS has to safeguard rights of all the stakeholders starting from small farmers to corporate farmers with a balanced and prudent approach.
An open discussion was held all the participants put forward various suggestions/recommendations that how to combat such crisis during COVID-19 emergency situation in country. It was recommended that the import of milk powders especially skimmed milk powder in the country should be banned immediately to safeguard local Dairy industry.
Furthermore, it was recommended that feed mills, franchises and livestock products related retail shops should be allowed to remain open by government during emergency from 9 am to 8pm. They demanded to start dairy animal vaccines to curb disease issues and animal mandies must be open to facilitate supply chain.
The participants demanded the provision of cargo flights and subsidy in freight for facilitation of export of chicken, eggs and red meat to the regional markets during lockdown. They called forgiving special investment package to the new investments in livestock and poultry farming by giving tax exemptions and free electricity during COVID-19 emergency situation and they also demanded of subsidy by government especially on the value addition related equipment.