ISLAMABAD, Jan 31 (APP): Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Monday welcomed the development of Pakistan-Netherlands Dairy Development Centre as it would be beneficial for milk production and value addition in the country.
Pakistan’s estimated annual gross milk production was 63.7 million tons during 2020-21, he said talking to a delegation, led by Dutch Ambassador Wouter Plomp, of global leadership of Frieslandcampina NV, the largest dairy company in Netherlands.
The minister said the contribution of milk in the national economy could be gauged by the fact that the annual value of fresh milk exceeded the combined annual value of four major cash crops like wheat, rice, maize and sugar cane.
Around 6-10% of total gross milk production, he said, was being processed by 30 milk/dairy processing plants including Engro Foods Limited.
Imam said the production of powdered milk in Pakistan was non-significant, thus it needed more focus and investment. Increased local production of powdered milk would augment the dairy economy and ultimately the country’s reliance on imports would be discouraged.
During last two years (2019-20 & 2020-21), the minister added, a total of 88 million tons powdered milk worth US$ 160 million was imported by the private sector.
He said around 6-10% of total gross milk production was being processed in the country, which was inadequate.
One of the main reasons of low production of processed milk dairy products, he said, was the imported costly packaging material. The local production of packaging material would improve, and enhance the affordability and consumption of processed dairy milk products in Pakistan, he added. It would be less expensive as compared to the imported material.
Moreover, locally manufactured packaging material could also be exported in the regional and international markets, he said.
Hein Schumacher, CEO of Frieslandcampina NV, said the dairy sector could play a critical role in eliminating malnutrition in Pakistan. It had huge potential for foreign direct investment by companies like Frieslandcampina NV, he added.
He briefed the minister that the Pakistan-Netherlands Dairy Development Centre would be developed to help the public and private sectors in enhancing the productivity of the dairy sector of Pakistan.
Hein said Frieslandcampina NV was keen to leverage its extensive dairy experience spread over 150 years to collaborate with the Government of Pakistan for taking the dairy sector forward.