Jaspal claimed that despite local competition, Pakistan was able to hold its ground in the Middle East’s regional market. Although he added that to enter the emerging markets of China and Malaysia, the country’s meat sector needs to benefit more from scientific and technical opportunities.
However, the last decade has experienced strong growth within the sector. According to Jaspal, in 2005 Pakistan’s meat export were about US$29 million, compared to 2015’s exports of US$243.5m.
He said that the meat retail sector has shifted during this 10 year period, with an increasing interest from consumers in higher value and hygienic primal cuts of meat and such products. This has resulted in more players entering the retail sector. Despite this, the industry will be facing difficulties along the way. A lack of technical skills and scientific methodologies means that challenges will be presented to the sector.
To help develop the country’s meat industry and to overcome obstacles, UVAS created the department of meat science and technology (MST), a first of its kind in Pakistan.
According to Jaspal, the department has commenced activities. Its purpose is to provide training to students and industry personnel within the meat processing field, and to provide the standard of quality and hygiene of meat and meat products of Pakistan. To help meet these objectives, MST has created a small meat processing plant and laboratory at UVAS’ Lahore campus.
The plant will also give students the opportunity to train according to the industry’s requirements. Jaspal also said that the department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Punjab Agriculture Meat Company (PAMCO) to conduct student demonstrations and research.
Additionally, the Daily Times reported that a high tech quality and analytical laboratory for meat is soon to be established at UVAS’ Ravi Campus. Undergraduate courses in both red meat and poultry processing are being taught at MST. Furthermore, the department has introduced a new postgraduate master of philosophy programme to cater to the lack of sector-specific degrees being offered within Pakistan.