Meat-loving Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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Meat is an important part of the diet and culture of the inhabitants of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in Pakistan. The PAFAID aims to target meat value chain actors in Abbottabad, D.I. Khan, Kohistan and Peshawar districts within this province.

In these districts, around 12,000 people earn their living from the cattle meat value chain, working as herders, middlemen, animal processors in slaughterhouses or butchers. In the inception phase of the project, populations of the various value chain actors, including cattle farmers, butchers, middlemen and slaughterhouses were estimated and a proportional sample was drawn for a baseline survey. The samples drawn at the tehsil level in the four districts are visualized below.

Even though women and youth are actively involved in the cattle value chain, they very often remain economically excluded or do not earn the same wage as their male colleagues. The Global Wage Report 2018/2019 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that women in Pakistan constitute 90% of the bottom 1% of wage earners in the country. The report also highlights the wage and gender wage gap situation in Pakistan. According to the report, Pakistan has the second highest average hourly gender pay gap of the 73 countries for which comparable data are available. In particular the gender pay gap for Pakistan was identified to be 34 percent, which is more than double of the global average.

There are 39 slaughterhouses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, out of which only 30 operate at the moment. However, the food safety and quality compliance level of these slaughterhouses is relatively low. To date none of the slaughterhouses, supplying the local market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have been able to comply with national and international food safety requirements.

Results from PAFAID’s initial survey suggested that out of the 10 slaughterhouses in the four selected districts, 6 (60%) do not follow any food safety certification requirements or practices in the form of good hygiene practices (GHP) and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) whereas 4 (40%) followed certain guidelines but still were not certified for safety and quality at this stage. As a result of lack of compliance and regulatory issues, locally processed meat can not be sold in local or foreign high-end markets, resulting in loss of potential economic benefits for the actors in the cattle meat value chain.

Like slaughterhouses, butcher shops are also unable to comply with food safety requirements outlined in local regulations. This is despite a network of diligent inspectors who visit meat related businesses and follow up with them on their practices. The ongoing joint efforts of the Agriculture Department, Local Government Department and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Food Safety and Halal Food Authority (KPFSHFA) on enforcing existing food safety regulations are acknowledged to help improve food safety conditions of these meat shops, however, further improvement can be considered in this area based on international best practices. Unhygienic conditions in meat shops result in mass consumption of unsafe meat which can potentially put the well-being of innumerable consumers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at risk. Meat sold in unhygienic conditions can lead to severe foodborne illnesses which in general also contributes to a total productivity loss of $1.5 billion per year in Pakistan through higher health care costs and inability to work or decreased productivity of consumers. (Source: The World Bank: The Safe Food Imperative).

Many of the butcher shops that process and sell meat also do not have access to electricity, clean running water and adequate cold storage facilities, thus compromising hygiene as well as market competitiveness. PAFAID's survey found that 23% of the butcher shops reported not having access to electricity, 32% reported no access to running water whereas 47% reported not having access to a cold storage facility. Lack of basic facilities also reduces opportunities for economic growth originating from higher profit margins in high end markets. The distribution of meat price reported by butchers in the surveyed districts is provided below.

Despite many challenges, the global halal food market shows a lot of potential by reaching a value of around US$ 1.6 Trillion in 2018. By 2030, the market is projected to become a multi-trillion dollar sector serving billions of consumers. Investing in meeting national and international requirements especially in food safety compliance is a big untapped economic opportunity for Pakistan, especially for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

UNIDO works on the enhancement of the productive and compliance capacities of relevant actors in the cattle meat value chain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so as to contribute to poverty reduction through economic growth. If you want to learn more about our project and hear about upcoming events, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter.