Pakistan's Dairy Industry Pins Hopes on 'Game Changer' Study by LUMS Faculty

Friday, June 17, 2016

LUMS launched Professor Abid Aman Burki’s seminal study, ‘Pakistan’s Dairy Sector: Lessons from the Past to Build a Resilient Dairy Industry’ on Wednesday at an event at LUMS where all stakeholders of the dairy sector, including representatives of UHT milk processors, corporate dairy farmers, livestock and dairy experts and renowned names of academia participated.

The study is a complete analysis of Pakistan’s dairy sector and demonstrates its importance to the economy in which the contribution of livestock to the GDP is approximately 12%, i.e. PKR 3,015 billion.

Addressing the gathering, the LUMS Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi said, “LUMS is a premier university, which lays strong emphasis on research. This study on the dairy sector is important for us as it impacts and changes the lives of people directly. Dairy is a fundamental sector as milk is a critical part of nutrition for people of all ages. Solving the economic issues of the industry are important for its growth and development to reach its full potential. The report presents a strong scientific study to make policies and a strategy for development of the dairy industry.”

Assad Abbas, Marketing Director Tetra Pak Pakistan, said in his address, “Pakistan is the 4th largest dairy producing country in the world with a dominant informal sector that remains undocumented, disorganised and entrenched in age-old production and marketing practices. If the right policies are implemented by the government, there is potential for enormous growth in the sector and Pakistan can become a global player in dairy products.”

Mr. Abbas added, “Malnutrition in Pakistan among women and children is increasing at an alarming rate; 24% of our children are severely stunted, with over 50% battling diseases arising from vitamin A and D deficiencies. Milk being the unique natural package of essential nutrients, is the perfect one-stop solution to counter malnutrition.”

Sharing highlights of the study, Dr. Abid Aman Burki said, “The 2007 policy was instrumental in promoting the growth of the corporate dairy farms in the country. However, the start-up infrastructural costs of these farms are a major barrier to entry for potential corporate dairy farms. The government must fine-tune its Livestock Development Policy 2007 to bring it in line with the changing dynamics of this sector which not only generates employment but also produces dairy products.”

Pakistan Dairy Association Chairman, Babar Sultan said that the proposed tax on branded milk could be detrimental to the growth of the dairy sector as the processor will inevitably have to pass on the burden to the consumers. He stressed that the government should continue the zero-rating taxation regime and return the full amount of outstanding sales tax refunds pending for the last many years in order to boost investor confidence.