Aug 16 - 22, 20

The government can bring revolution in rural areas by introducing best dairy practices to augment milk production as well as increase livelihood opportunities for poor people.

This was stated by Mian Mazhar Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pakistan Dairy Development Company (PDDC). He said Pakistan was the 4th largest milk producing country in the world with 45 billion liters of milk production per annum. Besides, he added, country is bestowed with 155 million livestock. However, he added, milk production per animal was not up to mark due to variety of reasons.

He said about 55 million population was directly dependent on livestock for their livelihood with women playing a key role in livestock management. He added that dairy sector could play decisive role in alleviation of poverty in rural areas in particular and in the whole country in general.

CEO PDDC said scarcity of funds had been a source of concern, as the company could not perform effectively due to this lingering problem. He added that PDDC could only get about Rs500 million against allocation of Rs1.5 billion so far.

Despite all these issues, he maintained, best dairy practices of leading dairy countries in the world are being disseminated among dairy farmers though at relatively small level.

"Dairy Pakistan's activities help promote and develop dairy sector as primary vehicle for poverty alleviation and increasing employment and incomes of small and medium dairy farmers, especially women dairy farmers of remote rural areas," he elaborated.

He informed that so far 1142 model dairy farms have been established in the country. "Basically it is a poverty alleviation program with focus on small and medium scale dairy farms," he said and adding the program is introducing world's best, recognised dairy farm management practices to make dairy farms profitable. He maintained that his company was also introducing cost effective ways to install essential infrastructure for the proper management of dairy herds and establish a network of trained dairy professionals to expand modern dairy technology across the country.

Mian Mazhar Ahmad said feasibility report identifies infrastructure and cost required to modernise farms. He added that interest free loans from financial institutions and success related subsidies/grants of 50 per cent of loans after three years for dairy farmers for implementing management changes were ensured.

"Management supervision and advice by Dairy Pakistan continues for three years with regular monthly visits and monitoring of farms performances," he said.

He said PDDC was also working to enhance shelf life of milk. We are in the process of establishing cool tank in the country. It is fact that out of total milk production of 45 billion liters per annum, only 36.2 billion liters per annum was available for consumption.

"As milk is a perishable commodity it needs immediate cooling and storage after production. There is dire need of establishing chain of cooling tank across the country. Basic objective of this programme is to improve the milk collection systems by strengthening the cold supply chain to ensure quality milk for consumers. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to link milk producers with the market and to the formal dairy sector. So far, PDDC has helped in installing 1204 cooling tanks," he said.

He admitted that there were regional disparities in the so far implemented programme of PDDC. He vowed to eliminate these disparities and provide technical assistance to farmers living in far-flung and backward areas of the country.

He said his company was also working on establishment of community farm program, biogas program, and on-farm training/extension program.

He said bioagas program was a huge success as it focused on the provision of cheaper, cleaner and renewable source of energy for the dairy farmers in form of biogas and best organic fertiliser in form of bioslurry. He said such 100,000 plants could be established but shortage of fund was hampering activities of PDDC in this regard.

PDDC chief said his company was also working on development of dairy policy with the help of other department concerned. He said working on regulation relating to livestock sector was also initiated in order to make this sector efficient.