By RIAZ HAQ: Pakistan’s per capita daal (pulse, lintel) consumption has sharply declined to about 7 kg/person from about 15 Kg/person in 2000, according to data released by Food and Agriculture Organization and reported in Pakistani media.
Meat has replaced Daal as the main source of protein with per capita meat consumption rising from 11.7 kg in 2000 to 32 kg in 2016. It is projected to rise to 47 kg by 2020, according to a paper published in the Korean Journal of Food Science of Animal Resources.
FAO report titled “State of Food and Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific Region” said rising incomes in developing nations are causing a shift from plant proteins — such as those found in pulses (daal) and beans — to more expensive animal proteins such as those found in meat and dairy.
According to the Household Integrated Surveys of Pakistan, the average monthly household income in the country jumped 15% from Rs. 30,999 in 2013-14 to Rs. 35,662 in 2015-16. Urbanization and migration of rural population to the major cities are major causes of rising income and subsequently rise in meat consumption due to shifting pattern in eating preferences and habit.
Pakistan’s per capita meat consumption has nearly tripled from 11.7 kg in 2000 to 32 kg in 2016. It is projected to rise to 47 kg by 2020, according to a paper published by the United States National Library of Medicines at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Organization for Economic Development (OECD) explains that meat demand increases with higher incomes and a shift – often due to growing urbanization – to food preferences that favor increased proteins from animal sources in diets.
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Nature magazine reports that Pakistanis are among the most carnivorous people in the world. After studying the eating habits of 176 countries, the authors found that average human being is at 2.21 tropic level. It put Pakistanis at 2.4, the same tropic level as Europeans and Americans. China and India are at 2.1 and 2.2 respectively.
Chicken Vs Daal:
IN 2016, Pakistan’s then finance minister Ishaq Dar suggested to his countrymen to eat chicken instead of daal (pulses or legumes). To some, the minister sounded like Queen Marie-Antoinette (wife of France’s King Louis XVI) who reportedly said to hungry rioters during the French Revolution: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake”?
It was indeed true that some varieties of daal were priced higher than chicken. For example, maash was selling at Rs. 260 per kilo, higher than chicken meat at Rs. 200 per kilo. But other daals such as mung, masur and chana were cheaper than chicken.
The reason for higher daal prices and relatively lower chicken prices can be found in the fact that Pakistan’s livestock industry, particularly poultry farming, has seen significant growth that the nation’s pulse crop harvests have not.
Per capita daal consumption is falling while meat and milk consumption is rising in Pakistan with rising household incomes and urbanization.