The government and private sector partnership can
bring revolutionary change in Pakistan's Dairy Sector, which needs
concrete steps for professional management and consolidation of
resources available in the farm sector.
At present only few business groups have the monopoly
over the dairy farming and are out for minting money by selling products
at a price of their choice.
These business group engaged in the dairy business
are taking full advantage of government's negligence toward dairy
sector. Consequent to the negligence of the corporate culture in our
farming sector, more than 60 million small farmers were also being
deprived of their due benefits.
Experts feel that only few good policies of the
government can bring a rapid improvement of poverty level as dairy
sector has its roots all over rural areas of the country. They said that
more than a dozen studies and surveys conducted by different
institutions have confirmed that dairy sector has its volume of
production nearly at the level of wheat and other agriculture products
However, milk powder import into the country has
reduced from 40,000 metric ton to virtual end. At present only few
brands of milk powder are imported for infants.
In the last financial year, dairy sector provided Rs.
40 billion to the national kitty, which was almost 9 percent of the
overall export earnings of the country. Therefore fresh milk production
in the country is still playing a major role in reducing poverty,
experts said. The role of livestock in rural economy may be assessed by
the fact that 50 to 65 million of the total rural population is engaged
in livestock raising household holdings of 2 to 3 cattle/buffalo and 5
to 6 sheep and goats per family and deriving 30 to 40 percent of income
from it. The livestock population comprises 38.9 million buffaloes, 28.9
million cows and oxen, 24.2 million sheep, 49.2 million goats and 0.8
million camels. They are producing more than 32.284 million tons of
fresh milk during 2003-2004 besides providing 1.51 million tons of beef
and 0.66 million tons of mutton. At the national level, buffalo milk
contribution is 70 per cent, cow milk is 25 percent and from sheep,
goats and camels, Pakistan gets 5 percent milk production in the
country. Analysts alleged that the government had done nothing so far to
enhance the investment in this sector and has drafted no concrete
policies for the protection of the existing system. They further alleged
that the government functionaries during the last 50 years concentrated
more on other agricultural items whereas milk production and other dairy
products were contributing more to the national exchequer. During the
period under review, the annual milk production was recorded as 32.28
million tons ranking Pakistan at the 5th biggest milk-producing country
in the world. More joint venture is arriving in Pakistan in dairy sector
as it has huge potential in it. Survey reports revealed that small
farmers are selling fresh milk to the tetra pack milk producers at the
rate of Rs. 8 to 9 per liter which is being sold in the retail market at
between Rs. 34 to Rs. 37 per liter while tetra packaging and other
expenses are not above than Rs 5 to Rs. 7. Reports also revealed that,
Tetra pack can not be considered as pure as it is pasteurized and
treated for long life. It is treated and goes under a process which is
called standardize as moreover chemicals are also mixed to keep it
Tetra pack milk has additives and preservatives,
which reduces its nutritional value. Health conscious people and mothers
for their children do not recommend tetra pack milk because of low fat
content and for better nutritional value they prefer fresh milk. It may
be mentioned that government did not take any action against a media
campaign of the tetra pack operators in which they tried to prove that
fresh milk was not fit for human consumption.
Experts say that not only Pakistan become exporter of
fresh milk and its related products like cheese and cream to Middle
East, Iran and even India with latest equipments of preservation,
transportation and more varieties of livestock are introduced. Some of
the private sector people dealing in fresh milk have imported Holstein
breed cows from USA in order to enlarge livestock varieties and to
increase the fresh milk production.
Karachi-based milkmen alleged that instead of
supporting local milkmen and dairy farm operators, government is
discouraging them with different tactics as a result multinational
companies are gradually taking all the benefits from small farmers.
Giving example of Karachi, local retailers of fresh milk said that
despite all the difficulties, cattle farms in and around Karachi are
producing 3.2 million liter fresh milk against total consumption of 3.5
million liter per day.
A local company in Punjab province has entered into
the fresh milk supply with latest preservation, delivery and farming
system according to which fresh milk would be supplied to the super
stores and markets on daily basis.
Situation calls for an immediate plan for training of
dairy farm operators and even small farmers who can improve fresh milk
production more than double. Local farmers should also be given loans
and more facilities and latest technologies and equipments should be
imported both on governmental and private sector to give strength to the
most important sector of the country. They further said that Pakistan is
lucky in dairy farm sector as there is no manpower problem at both urban
and rural areas.