European Union (EU), importer of meat from Pakistan,
has launched a 6-year programme for strengthening Livestock sector in
Pakistan and AJK with the cost of Rs. 1.6 billion aimed to improve the
quality of Livestock products by controlling diseases. A representative
of the EU, disclosed while talking informally to the newsmen at a
diplomatic function in Islamabad.
He said that the project which has been launched with
the cooperation of the federal government, provincial governments and
the government of AJK and will be supervised by a EU expert. The
programme will provide various facilities including technical
assistance, upgradation of laboratories and vaccination centers aimed at
producing quality vaccine to meet requirements of country's livestock.
At least 20 million cattle need vaccination twice a year and the
existing centers do not have the adequate capacity to ensure production
Pakistan is exporting worth more than Rs. 53 billion
of livestock annually of which products worth Rs. 10 billion is being
exported to EU member countries. EU experts have found that products as
not up to the mark. In order to avoid disruption of trade in livestock
products and improve the quality of exportable items, EU has come out
with a helping hand. The project will target the animal disease control
by looking specially at the final eradication of Rinder pest and
problems of foot and mouth diseases (FM) the control of which was
essential for the export of livestock or livestock products.
It is regrettable that despite immense potential,
livestock sector has been a victim of criminal neglect by the successive
governments in Pakistan. While it is heartening to learn that Pakistan
has exported over 1 billion dollar of cattle and meat during the last
year but this export has resulted in sharp rises in the prices of
mutton, beef making them beyond the reach of the common man in Pakistan.
There is a huge potential of livestock and dairy development in Pakistan
and we can earn billion of dollars without affecting the Pakistani
consumers adversely by harnessing the abundant resources available in
Out of Balochistan total areas of about 35 million
hectors only about 1.5 million hectors (about 4 per cent only) is under
cultivation. The remaining is range land which offer tremendous
potential for boosting population of sheep and goats as these
uncultivated areas provide for almost 90 per cent of feed requirements
of these animals. Similarly, vast lands of Azad Kashmir and northern
areas, not under cultivation, can be utilized for rearing sheep, goats,
cows and bulls to augment the meat as well as milk production. In Punjab
and Sindh there is huge potential for development of dairy products,
which after adequately meeting domestic requirements can be big sources
of foreign exchange earning.
Pakistan ranks 7th among milk producing countries,
with an estimated 21 billion liters of milk produced annually. Although
this level of milk production is more than adequate on a per capital
basis for today population, lack of processing and poor distribution
system in a long hot weather (milk has a shelf life of only four hours
under moderate temperatures) keeps it from reaching consumers in areas
that are either deficient in milk production, particularly the urban
centers, or those that are difficult to access.
The milk yield per cow in the neighboring country is
about 3000 liters per lactation period as against 1000 liters in
Pakistan. In Western Europe the average exceeds 5000 liters, in USA 9000
and Israel exceeds 7000 liter per lactation period. After extensive
research Indian livestock ministry has introduced a programme to
gradually replace buffaloes with cows, which give more milk, by
educating their farmers through their well established cooperatives and
successfully carried out the replacement programme during the last
decade or so. During this period India has almost doubled its milk
production from 38 to 72 billion liters and now ranks at No 2 after USA.
India besides feeding its huge population a huge quantity in the form of
Dry milk processed and packed milk.
Livestock development is imperative for strengthening
the national economy and has full potential for job creating, meeting
food requirements and taking active part in export drive in an era of
globalization. Livestock sector is the single most important sector,
which can make import at the grassroots level in alleviating poverty 9n
the country. The continued neglect has left this sector far behind.
Pakistan is endowed with considerable livestock resources base and there
is a tremendous potential for enhancing livestock production provided
feed shortage is overcome, improved husbandry practices are adopted and
adequate animal health cover is provided. This can be ensured when
livestock production is undertaken on commercial basis.
To achieve these objectives the present government
constituted last year a Livestock and Dairy Development Board at the
federal level with representatives from all the provinces and experts in
this field. Besides providing technical assistance and guidance to those
already in this business the Board was supposed to streamline loan
facilities at concessional rates to help encourage those already in the
field. The Board was made responsible for planning and facilitating for
accelerated development of Pakistan livestock and dairy sector. The
Board has however failed to make any impact during the last 18 months
after its constitution in November 2002.