ROLE OF LIVESTOCK IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

DR.S.M.ALAM
Aug 31 - Sep 06, 2009

Livestock is an important sector of agriculture and it accounts for about 9.4% of national GDP.

Pakistan is endowed with a large livestock population and assumes a pivotal position in economic planning. The sector is closely linked to crop production as well as population of the country. It covers about 35% of the agriculture value-added and provides (directly or indirectly) employment to about 50 per cent of the population. It represents about 12.3% of the total exports.

Besides, being a source of milk, meat and eggs, livestock provides raw material to industrial operations. The country also earns sizeable amount of foreign exchange from the export of various livestock products.

Pakistan is lucky to have two best tropically breed of buffaloes, such as Nili-Ravi and Kundi breeds, eight recognized breed of cattle of Hostein Freisian and Jersey breeds as well as their crossbreed with local cattle (Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Thari), Dera Din Pench, Beetal, Nachi and Kamori goats and Lohi, Kjli, Keghani, Damani, and Salt Range sheeps are augmenting animal production in the country.

Livestock includes cattle, buffaloes, cows, sheep, goats, horses, asses, mules etc. In 2007-08, the domestic livestock population was estimated as 25.3 million buffaloes, 23.3 million cattle, 25.3 million sheep, 49.1 million goats, 0.9 million camels, 0.6 million horses, 0.07 million mules, 3.1 million donkeys, and 164.6 million poultry. In 2006-07, livestock produced 32284 x 103 tons milk, 1010 x 103 tons beef, 666 x 103 tons mutton, 333X103 tons poultry meat, 39.2X103 tons wool, 18.6X103 tons hair, 333.7X103 tons bones, 124x103 tons fats, 8, 677 million numbers of eggs, 7.8 million number of hides, 38.2 million numbers of skin and 40x103 tons of blood.

The average milk production per animal is 8.5 litres per day. The major share of production of milk is from buffaloes that is 66%, cows 32%, sheep and goats 2%. Punjab and Sindh are the two major livestock holders of 52% and 26% respectively. The government has taken numerous measures from time-to-time for the improvement of livestock sectors, which include strengthening of research and development activities, import of exotic animals, micro and micro-nutrient and chemicals used in feed industry, provision of credit facilities, tax holiday on some items essential for livestock and poultry industry and provision of long- and short-term training to scientists.

Livestock products have shown different growth rates between 1971-72 and 2007-08. For example, milk production grew during the period at the compound rate of 4% year, beef 4.4%, mutton 6.5%, poultry meat 14.4%, while the production of eggs increased at the rate of 10% a year. When the total production of the food is judged against the population, the per capita availability of milk, which was 119.4 kg per year, increased to 153.4 kg beef from 5.3 to 7.5 kg mutton from 3.2 to 7.2 kg poultry meat from about 0.2 to 2.7 kg per head, per year.

It is interesting to note that the rate of growth in each of the item is greater than that of the population, which resulted in higher per capita availability of these foods during the period, but the prices of these increased comparatively at greater price. Livestock includes a list of species of cattle, buffaloes, sheep, horse, mule, donkey, camel, goat, chicken, duck, turkey, and poultry.

Livestock supplies wool, hides, skins, bones, hair, casings and blood for industrial use within the country and for export as well. It also provides organic fertilizer (dung) for human population and agricultural activities.

The by-products of livestock industry contribute to domestic industrial development, as well as to make a valuable contribution to export earnings of Pakistan, which are obtained from the export of carpets, leather, wool hides, skins, and others.

All the animals are prone to some sort of disease in any stage of their life. The younger ones are more susceptible to infestation than older ones. However, worms can affect livestock of all ages. The control of numerous disease-producing agents is based on treating the infected animals and preventing the spread of infections as far as possible.

Disease like foot and mouth affects the productivity of the livestock without causing any mortality. Farmers do not take much care for preventive vaccinations. Even in case of mortal diseases like anthrax, hemorrhage, and septicemia, farmers do not take care to get their animals vaccinated until the outbreaks occur. Thorough and comprehensive efforts should be taken to vaccinate all the animals to control the contagious diseases.

Livestock farming mostly employs old methods and in many cases, it is a result of backyard home production. That is, modern breeding practices are not generally followed and thus the animal population suffers from malnutrition. As a result, the quality and weight of our animals are much below the international standards. In order to increase the rural income and employment levels, the development of livestock resources of the country has become imperative.

Pakistan has an excellent wealth of animals. The varieties of our animals have no parallel in the world. Some of varieties are of very high quality. In New Zealand, one-person alone runs a farm with 120-150 cows, of 2000-3000 sheep and goats by working 30 hours a week.

Cattle ranches can be developed in Pakistan because of the availability of rangelands occupying big land area. Rangelands suffer lack of management. If this is on the basis of modern technology then large number of modern cattle and dairy farms can be established to get large production of animal quality, as high yield of their products.

Ranching is a modern livestock farming organized on the pattern of an industrial project of the farming processes.

Livestock markets in the country are shanties or in structures within and provision of no proper arrangement shelter, drinking water and feeds for animals exist. Livestock markets in rural and urban areas are mainly single day markets as such the livestock owners are at the mercy of the middlemen. No proper storage houses exist for livestock products like milk and eggs.

POSSIBLE WAYS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF LIVESTOCK FARMING

There is a consensus amongst the stakeholders and experts that Pakistan's dairy sector has immense potential for growth. Following recommendations should be considered. Make livestock products available at competitive price using livestock sector as tool for poverty alleviation in the country, especially in rural areas; and Produce surplus for export to Gulf and South East Asian countries to meet the requirement of around 175 million population and future demand of dairy products, which is going to rise with population growth and rise in per capita income.

Issues relating to our livestock and dairy industries are lack of research work for bringing improvement under local environment, lack of animal's health care and advisory services, feed and fodder scarcity in extreme weather conditions, limited collection, transportation and preservation facilities for dairy and livestock products according to international standards, lack of processing units for value added dairy and livestock. Research work with an aim to have good breeds of milk & meat animals and sustainable use of available farm animal genetic resources in the country is needed. A strong infrastructure is required to ensure animal health & care, ensuring availability of nutritional standardizing milk and dairy products.