8th Feb, 2006: LAHORE - After opening its border to sugar imports from India, Pakistan may follow it up with import of soybean, Online news agency reported.
Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan has said the government was considering allowing imports of soybean through the land route via the Wagah border in India's Punjab state.
In a meeting with Abdul Basit, vice president of Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), here Tuesday Khan also assured that the government would to take all steps to promote the local industry.
Basit told the minister that the limited import of soybean was adversely affecting the poultry industry in the country. If imports were not allowed, it would deal a serious blow to the sector, he said.
Soybean forms a major part of poultry feed.
Basit pointed out that soybean imports were not practicable via the sea as the higher freight charges increased the prices manifold.
He said to revive the industry the government must grant a ten-year tax exemption and accord small enterprise status to the poultry sector. He also demanded lowering of power tariffs for the poultry industry.
On the ongoing sugar crisis, Khan said steps were being taken to bridge the gap between supply and demand to control the escalating prices.
Pakistan has decided to allow import of sugar through the land route from India after low production and a subsequent strike by mill owners created a shortage and resulted in an unusual price hike.
Sugar, which was earlier being sold for Rs.18 per kg in the wholesale market, is now reportedly selling for Rs.41 per kg in the wholesale market and about Rs.42-44 per kg in the retail market.