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1- HOUSING SECTOR IN PAKISTAN
2- BUDGET DEBATE IN SENATE
3- DAIRY PRODUCTS
4- COST OF POWER IN KARACHI
5- MANGO GROWTH AND EXPORTS
6- CULTIVATION OF MUSHROOMS

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DAIRY PRODUCTS

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At present only few business groups have the monopoly over the dairy farming

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By AZAM ALI

June 28 - July 04, 2004
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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 like cotton.

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 thick.

 

 

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.