TRANSFORMING DAIRY SECTOR IN BALOCHISTAN
Mar 16 - 22, 2009
Livestock contributes approximately Rs.20 billion in terms of production of meat, milk, eggs, skin, hides and wool, to the livelihood of over 70 percent of the population in Balochistan. Milk contributes 35 percent of the total earning from livestock. There is a need to tap the province's enormous potential in milk sector both for domestic consumption and export to foreign markets. The province needs to enhance dairy production and move from subsistence to market-oriented dairy farming.
A well orchestrated strategy needs to be formulated to effectively transform the dairy sector in the province. It should include all aspects of dairy development, which means improving milk collection network, increasing the quantity of available cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats and enhancing milk processing and marketing. The provincial government should fix an annual target of milk production each year and should make concerted efforts to achieve it.
The government should provide the enabling environment for the underserved farming community in the province to join the commercial farmers club to harvest the benefits of corporate livestock farming. Steps need to be taken for establishing forward linkages with processing industry and the consumers' market. Similarly, steps should also be taken for backward integration through provision of milk cooling tanks, credit facilities, reliable and cost effective service delivery system and active participation of the local dairy farmers. Steps must be taken to ensure entry of rural dairy farmers in the milk marketing chain in the province.
DAIRY FARMS IN BALOCHISTAN
As per statistics of 2006 livestock census, the province maintains 2.25 million of cattle, 12.80 million of sheep, 11.78 million of goats and 0.319 million of buffaloes. The province has 15 dairy and cattle farms and three sheep and goat farms.
Quetta dairy farm has 176 animals of two breed- Frisians and Achi. The farm has 87 Frisians, which is a foreign breed and it produces 1400Kg of milk per day. Achi breed is a local breed, which is particularly used for meat purpose, as it produces less milk. Frisian hardly survives in summer; hence it is kept under special sheds during summer. For non-availability of green fodder in Quetta during winter, the fodder for animals is brought from central Balochistan. Presently, Halal feed containing food supplements and concentrates, is being used to increase milk production in the dairy farms.
Presently, two projects for construction of research centre for dairy development farms each in Awaran and Bela districts are underway at an estimated cost of Rs.41.046 million and Rs.49 million, respectively. These projects include the construction of office blocks, sheds and pens and purchase of livestock, dairy equipment and medicine. The proposed projects for the current fiscal year include establishment of dairy farms at Killa Saifullah and Dalbandin at an estimated cost of Rs.80 million and strengthening of government dairy farm in Quetta at an estimated cost of Rs.25 million.
MISMANAGEMENT IN DAIRY FARMS
The mismanagement in dairy farms also causes Matritis, abscess, wounds, pyroplasmosis and other foot & mouth diseases. The local experts are of the view that proper milk let-down is only possible through milking machines, as hand-milking by dairy farmers is also causing different diseases in the animals. Generally, mastitis is caused by hand-milking. Experts believe that hand-milking should completely be replaced by milking machines in all the dairy farms of the province. The animals are kept under unhygienic conditions that cause diseases in cattle and buffaloes.
Unhygienic handling leads to poor quality milk well below international standards. No production recording is practiced because of the illiteracy and lack of awareness at farmer level. The local dairy farmers should be provided overall technical support including automated milking machines and herd management. They should also be given feeding recipes for the animals in different seasons. There is a need for establishing milk pasteurization plants in various districts. The extension services also need to be improved for increasing dairy production in the province.
Small dairy farmers in Balochistan generally keep animals as a part of tradition for meeting household milk needs. They consider dairy a side income, as commercial dairy farming is non-existent in the province. The animals are not properly fed, as majority of the households keeping the livestock are landless. They sell only morning milk and remaining is lost due to lack of mechanization, automation and refrigeration. This causes loss in their income.
The milk marketing channels are not organized on scientific lines in Balochistan. The marketing is done through middleman, as the average milk sold per household is less than 5 litres a day. The farmers have a fragmented distribution system in which majority of dairying households maintain herds of one to two animals, while others maintain herds of 3 to 4 animals. There is a dire need for strengthening of livestock markets in the province.
Local farmers lack knowledge on animal husbandry and are unaware of modern techniques of dairy farming. Due to inadequate fodder and water unavailability in summer cause seasonality in milk supply. Presently, the local farmers do not follow breeding through artificial insemination due to low conception rate and non-accessibility. Except, the public sector organization, the veterinary service delivery network is not available in the province, and hence the coverage is meager.
- Steps being taken toward white revolution in Balochistan include extensive use of artificial insemination, import of semen of high performance animals, use of biotechnology in livestock sector, controlling of diseases, quarantine measures, proper management and study of climate in arid and semi-arid regions, enhancing fodder production and its management and culling of local breeds with low performance and exclusive amelioration of genetic characters in local breeds with high performance.
- Dairy farmers' associations should be formed to provide subsidized veterinary/breading cover and balanced feed and assistance for fodder production and its preservation and marketing of milk and animals to the registered farmers.
- Local farmers should be provided short-term training on different aspects of profitable dairy farming in the province. Modern techniques of milk preservation should be adopted and more chilling units for collection of milk from rural areas established.
- The provincial government should create an environment through announcement of attractive incentives for seeking foreign investment in livestock sector particularly dairy farming, as it would bring latest technology, modern methods of animal husbandry. An Investment Promotion Cell (IPC) may be established to bring the foreign capital for efficiently tapping the potential areas of dairy farming in the province. The government should provide land and facilities for setting up goat milk cheese processing units in order to motivate the private sector.
Table: 1 ESTIMATED MILK PRODUCTION IN BALOCHISTAN (000 TONS) BREED MILK Cattle 778 Buffaloes 433 Goat 152 Sheep 13 Source: Balochistan Livestock Department