Livestock sector enjoys an importance niche in the agro-based economy of rural Pakistan with its 11.6 per cent contribution to the national GDP. Though this sector posts a four per cent annual growth which is, no doubt, optimistic, yet the two natural disasters – earthquake of 2008 and massive flood of 2010 – in addition to human casualties and damage to agricultural lands and properties had left hundreds of thousands of animals including buffalos, cows, goats, etc. which enormously disturbed the census figures of animals in the country. Since strength of a sector plays a vital role in drafting policies in the relevant field, the lack of correct statistics of the local livestock sector has made it difficult to the assess the real potential of this sector. Livestock sector also produces a vast array of byproducts especially leather whose exports earned over $1.1 billion which amounted to the 4.4 per cent of total exports in 2010-11 and constituted third largest export of Pakistan after cotton and rice. Pakistan is the worlds third largest milk producing country. Buffalo, cattle, sheep, goat and camel are the major source of milk production. The Halal meat market is fast gaining ground across the Muslim world with other countries having a major share in the international market. Pakistan is also flexing its muscles to fully jump in this field to get the world Halal meat market share. For this purpose, an environment needs to be created across the country where a strong network of animal breeding farms is established. Enhanced wool collection, meat and milk production as well as livestocks byproducts can be regulated only after assessing its real potential. Since the countrys annual exports target is revised upwards every year, the lack of accurate data of livestock would make it difficult to maintain this sectors contribution to annual exports. In addition, this sector has faced not only neglect and a lack of interest, but also an outright bias from our national and provincial policy makers and civil leadership. This situation is reflected in the very limited number of programmes or projects promoting livestock development. The last livestock census was done in 2006 and the next is due in the year 2016. However, the current situation demands immediate conduct of livestock census in the country so that real strength of this sector is assessed and subsequent policies are made to tap maximum potential of this sector, which provides about 11 per cent income to the rural population.
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