Poultry smuggling: Despite ban, chickens continue to cross the border

Traders say illegal export to Afghanistan has increased prices in the province.

Hassan Ali December 31, 2012

PESHAWAR: A ban imposed by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on export of poultry to Afghanistan has turned smuggling into a profitable venture.

Illegal export of chicken has also affected the wholesale and retail prices of poultry in Peshawar which has increased by Rs50 to Rs170-176 per kilogramme in the last two months.

Earlier, when the PHC imposed the ban, prices dropped to Rs102.

Some exporters are smuggling chickens, breeder hens and hens from the chicken market in Peshawar through Shalman Road, Mullagori and Jamrud towards the Torkham border from where it is transported to the neighbouring country by cart pushers, said local poultry businessman Ali Jan.

“At least three to four pick-up vans, each containing 25,000 chickens, are illegally exported to Afghanistan every day, resulting in increased prices in Peshawar,” Jan added. “The agents who are exporting poultry products pay Rs200,000 for each van delivering products at the Torkham border.”

He added that there has been an increase in smuggling in the last two months.

During a visit to the wholesale chicken market in the provincial capital, businessmen accused the political administration of Khyber Agency and officials at the Torkham border of taking bribes from smugglers.

They said the high demand of Pakistani poultry products in Afghanistan made smuggling a more profitable venture than selling these products in the province.

“Exporting poultry to Afghanistan is more profitable than doing business at the local level. The businessmen earn almost four times more revenue from exporting products to Afghanistan,” said a businessman at the chicken market, Nadim Hakimkhel. The disparity in profits has attracted more businessmen towards this illegal practice, he added.

Officials in the administration, however, expressed ignorance and said a ‘complete’ ban was imposed on export of poultry and cattle to Afghanistan following PHC’s order.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2012.


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