LAHORE - Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company (Pamco) is working on a number of projects with a view to enhance supply of healthy animals to slaughter houses so that soaring prices of meat could be controlled.Talking to The Nation, Pamco CEO Dr Hamid Jalil said that due to policies and measures adopted by company, animals on the occasion of upcoming Eid will be available at lower rates as compared previous years all over the province. He said that slaughtering fee has been reduced as compared to earlier rates to keep the prices of meat in control. Hamid Jalil said that company had registered over 2,500 livestock farms in its efforts to provide quality meat to citizen. He said that more livestock farms are being convinced to join hands with the company.He said that City District Government Lahore has assigned Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company (Pamco) to run all slaughter houses of city to ensure provision of quality, cheaper and hygienic meat to citizen.He said Pamco has shifted load of all old slaughter houses to newly-built ‘Lahore Meat Complex’ in a phased manner, while old slaughter houses have been converted into wholesale centres for sale of meat after necessary repair and cleanliness. Delivery of meat from new slaughter houses to old slaughter houses is free of cost by the Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company (PAMCO), he added.Dr Jalil claimed that this complex not only meets the domestic requirements but would also help export meat to eight foreign countries. He said that IFS and BRC certification had also been achieved for the complex.To earn foreign exchange there was dire need of a state-of-the-art meat processing plant which has been now established at Shahpur Kanjran. He said they have a backup supply for quality meat, meat processing and marketing facilities. He said the international market of Halal meat by-products is worth of $3 trillion which is consisted of pharmaceutical, food, utility, cosmetic, soap, tooth past and other domestic products. Pamco is working to capture local and international Halal market for supplying meat and by products, he said.To control illegal slaughter houses in city, Dr Jalil revealed that Pamco only works as research and development organization as it has no regulatory rights. It was the duty of district government to curb and control illegal slaughtering but customers should always check meat complex stamp before buying meat in open market. He said it was again the duty of district government to control meat prices in city. Meat rate was sky rocketing due to illegal export of animals to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. According to an estimate five to six million animals were being exported to Central Asia annually.Pamco chief made it clear that Rawalpindi and Multan were their next targets for establishing slaughtering houses but it would be decided by the provincial government subject to allocation of proper funds in forthcoming budget. After setting up of modern slaughter houses they would be able to enhance the facilities in other parts of Punjab otherwise Pamco has currently no extra financial resources to move to other cities.Elaborating importance of livestock, he said Pakistan is fourth largest animal production country after US, China and India. There were only three Muslim countries in the world including Pakistan, Sudan and Somalia where cattle were using 100 percent Halal feeding. Pakistan is qualifying for best international Halal market for meat and by products. He said due to lack of facilities at retailer shops, Pamco could not introduce frozen meat products. He said there was no cold chain available, while energy shortage was another main problem for promoting frozen industry in Pakistan. He explained that minus 20 centigrade temperature was necessary for storing frozen meat, while it could also preserve at retailer shops at minus temperature but it was not possible due to unscheduled power outages. To a query about the prospects of meat export, he disclosed Saudi Arabia and Iran had already approved and certified Lahore Meat Complex for export of the healthy and hygiene Halal meat, while a Malaysian delegation was scheduled to visit in second week of current month for this purpose.Dr Jalil said Pamco was protecting butchers’ business and providing them modern slaughtering facilities at the cheapest rates. In the past butchers were paying Rs1,200 fee for beef slaughtering, while Pamco was now charging only Rs500 fee for beef and Rs 125 fee per head for mutton slaughtering. The Pamco chief said that they were offering experienced and seasoned butchers to join Lahore Meat Complex and company had also selected and trained over 100 butchers in complex. However we had set strict conditions that nobody would be appointed without his proper screening of TB, Hepatitis, Typhoid symptoms and a modern lab issuing a health certificate before anybody could get entry in to slaughtering zone. During a recent screening 25 persons were diagnosed with multi-diseases and were consequently refused a job, he observed.Dr Jalil also clarified that they were providing 100 percent Halal meat and they were slaughtering the cattle according to strict Islamic conventions. A Sharia advisor had also been appointed to ensure the Halal process is duly observed at Lahore Meat Complex.