Officials of the Pakistan food and agriculture ministry suggest importing fodder quality wheat to release pressure on available wheat stocks in the country that are being used as poultry feed apart from human consumption.
The poultry feed sector in Pakistan is face to face with flourmills in lifting wheat stocks. Chicken and people are feeding on the same staple creating a supply issue and destabilising prices.
The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) has suggested importing low quality wheat for poultry feed and diverting local wheat back to flourmills instead of chicken farms.
Poultry farmers currently are rearing their flocks on wheat, which is a subsidised commodity in Pakistan.
However, the subsidy paid for the wheat from taxpayers pocket rarely gets to benefit the poverty stricken populace, the lower middle class particularly the daily wagers that find it hard to buy flour for two meals a day as the prices of the commodity had touched a record level.
Chicken competes for food
The poor mans competitor for wheat purchases is the chicken, which is mostly eaten by middle to higher income groups. The lower and lower-middle income groups rarely get to afford the taste of broiler meat.
After price hike of maize and broken rice the poultry feed makers switched to wheat, which is relatively cheaper.
Now all the poultry feed manufacturers have switched over to wheat from the old sources as the wheat is cheaper.
Last years, poultry feed makers used 1.3 million tonnes of wheat as livestock feeds while for the current year MINFAL estimates suggests that wheat for poultry feed purpose would be around 2 million tonnes.