Poultry prices drop as govt releases feed consignments.

ISLAMABAD -- While the poultry crisis has begun to subside after the government released genetically modified soybean and canola seeds that had been stranded at ports, more than 100 containers of onions are held up at ports awaiting extension in duty and tax exemption leading to a further surge in vegetable prices across the country, Dawn learnt from official sources on Wednesday.

According to Karachi Port Trust Shipping data, over 6,000 tonnes of Canola and nearly 7,000 tonnes of soya bean seeds had been offloaded over the past 48 hours.

Containers loaded with onions are piling up at ports in the wake of withdrawal of sales tax and withholding tax, official sources said.

Incidentally, the Minister for Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema had recently defended the decision to stop the import of genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds in the country claiming that it was poisonous and unfit for human consumption.

More than 100 containers of onions stranded at ports awaiting extension in duty, tax exemption

As a result, nine ships including five carrying canAola and four loaded with soybeans were contaAined at Karachi ports, leaAdAing to lack of key raw material for chicken feed.

The seeds have been impAoArted by edible oil mills and All Pakistan Solvent ExtraActAors' Association (APSEA) maintains that all exporting countries including the United States, Brazil, Argentina produce genetically modified soybean.

'Even the EU was importing GMO soybean from the US for poultry and cattle feed and we have to find a way too,' said Nawab Shehzad Ali, patron in chief of APSEA.

As the feed mills were unable to meet the demaAnds of poultry farms, the price of live broiler chicken had crossed Rs450 per kg and the price of chicken meat soared to Rs850 per kg. Due to shortage of soybean meal, the price of a 50kg chicken feed bag had reached over Rs7,000 with an increase of around Rs2,000 in merely three months.

However, on Wednesday, the rate of live broiler chicken was around Rs350 per kg in various markets as the price has dropped by around Rs100 in four days. This declining trend will continue as the goverAnment has started to relAease nine consignments of oil seeds stranded at KarAachi port and the means of these seeds is used by feed mills to produce chicken and cattle feed.

A wholesaler in Karachi also said that prices of live birds and...

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