Livestock Potential Of Pakistan

Livestock, to all extents, is not fully recognized and ever utilized for its applications. However,  yet this sector plays a critically important role in the agro-based economy of rural Pakistan.

Author: Prof. Dr Abdullah G Arijo

A nation is said to be lucky due to natural blessings. Pakistan certainly stands at a high position for having diversified climate, natural resources including coal reserves,valuable minerals fertile land both at plain fields and high altitudes, river water and almost 1120-kilometer coastal line that makes, Badin, Thatta, Karachi, Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara somehighly attractive beaches having huge potential to be utilized for trade and deep-sea fishing.   

Besides, Pakistan has best breeds of goat, sheep, cattle and buffalo known for insusceptible to a range of infections, high yield of milk and meat making Pakistan a blessed agricultural country. The agriculture sector is a vital component of Pakistan’s economy as it provides the raw materials to down the line industries and helps in poverty alleviation. In Pakistan, nearly 70 per cent masses are engaged in agriculture practices, contributing 19.8 per cent in GDP and it remains by far the largest employer absorbing 42.3 per cent of the country’s total labour force.  

Livestock, to all extents, is not fully recognized and ever utilized for its applications. However,   yet this sector plays a critically important role in the agro-based economy of rural Pakistan.  For example, Pakistan is endowed with rich fishing potential. It is in the northern part of the Arabian Sea. The Arabian Sea at the coast of Sindh and Baluchistan has rich fish deposits of commercial importance. Pakistan has a coastline of about 1 120 km, with several bays and broad continental shelf lying in front of the Indus deltas which are ideal for the growth of marine life, but the fishing potential is not fully utilized. This may be due to conventional facilities.   

Most of the fishing boats being used in Pakistan are made of wood, and not capable to meet the novel demands. There are about 19 000 registered boats in Pakistan, of which about 14 000 boats are being operated from Sindh, and the remaining 5 000 fishing boats being operated from Baluchistan. There is dire need to bring drastic changes to have safe and secure boats equipped with technologically advanced tools to be able to go for deep-sea fishing.   

In Pakistan, the Water and Power Development Authority oversees fisheries development. It is reported that production of fish can be increased through the stocking of hatchery-raised seeds (rohu, silver carp, grass carp, Catla, mrigal carp and common carp). About 23,000 mt of fish, valued at Rs.118 million, are being caught by 5,000 fisherfolk for their living, and 13,000 anglers as game fishermen. The yield is around 15.5 kg/ha but it is thought that this can be increased to 100 kg/ha. It is also reported that presently only about 35 per cent of the 8.6 million ha of freshwater bodies (rivers, reservoirs, lakes and flood-plains) is being utilized. 5,000 fish farms are covering an area of 1,500 ha, and six hatcheries and 22 nurseries provide 16 million fingerlings. While the growth rate of total fish production is expected to decrease from 3.4 to 2.7 per cent, the inland fish production rate is expected to increase from 2.4 to 3.0 per cent.   

Besides fisheries, cattle, buffalo sheep and goat is a gift of God. Pakistan is gifted with some best breeds very well adapted to the indigenous environmental conditions. The current population of farm animals in Pakistan consist of 23.34 million buffaloes, 22.42 million cattle, 24.24 million sheep, 49.14 million goats and 0.77 million camels. Pakistani buffaloes are riverine type and belong to two breeds i.e. Nili-Ravi and Kundi. Nili-Ravi is the best dairy buffalo breed of the world. There are ten distinct breeds of cattle found in Pakistan. However, these breeds probably only make up 30 per cent of the population and the rest of the population is generally classified as non-descript. Cattle breeds of Pakistan are Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Cholistani, Dhanni, Tharparker, Bhagnari, Djal, Lohani, Rojhan and Kankrej. There are 30 local breeds of sheep in the country. Important sheep breeds are Bucchi, Lohi, Thalli and the Salt Range in Punjab; Bambi, Kachhi and Kooka in Sindh; Balkhi, Damani and Kaghani in NWFP and Baluchi, Bibrik, Harnai and Rakhsani in Balochistan. For goats, 37 breeds have been described. The important goat breeds include Beetal, Dera Din Panah and Teddy in Punjab, Barbari and Kamori in Sindh, Kaghani and Jatal in N.W.F.P. and Khurassani, Lehri and Pahari in Balochistan. Twentyone breeds of running, baggage and dairy camels have been described.  

Mostly, animal herbs are reared by rural masses, who have neither advanced knowledge of animal husbandry not they possess required capital to invest in prevention, treatment and control of animal ailments (Afzal and Naqvi, 2004).  

The livestock sector is confronted with many issues some of them some big challenges. Livestock health is a limiting factor to productivity. Either there is a lack of knowledge or paucity of capital to purchase treatment stuff. It is also observed that the farming community has less realization about the benefits of animal rearing. Moreover, little attention is paid to breeding practices. Mostly bull with low genetic potential is used, which never helps in improving production potential.  

It is time to realize and compare animal products of local breeds with that of the rest of the world. Of 800 cattle breeds around the globe, Holstein-Friesian Cattle is amazing milk producer and it is the highest milk production dairy farm animal in the world as it produces 32,740 litres of milk in 365 days, followed by Norwegian Red known to produce 10,000 litres per year, Kostroma also 10,000 litres every year. Brown Swiss, provide 9,000 litres per year, Swedish Red Cattle Breed 8000 litres, Ayrshire Cattle Breed 600 litres, Guernsey Cattle Breed 7363 litres, Milking Shorthorn Cattle Breed 7,000 litres and Pie Rouge Des Plaines Cattle Breed 6900 litres per year. Contrast to that, cattle breeds of Pakistan are Sahiwal,  

Red Sindhi, Cholistani, Dhanni, Tharparker, Bhagnari, Djal, Lohani, Rojhan and Kankrej. Of all these breeds, Sahiwal is ranked as best milking cattle bred, yielding about 8-10kgs per day, with a fat content of 4.5 %, within an average lactation period of 10 months. Comparatively, this is very low milk yield and may be increased by adopting certain measures such as adequate nutrition, worm control by regular drenching etc.   

Adequate nutrition is a chief problematic in livestock production. Without providing the essential nourishment to the animal the hereditary potential cannot be improved. We need to develop a national policy to decide how much nutrients our animals need to express their full genetic potential of productivity. To develop feeding standards of buffaloes, cattle, sheep and goat, no serious effort has been made.   

Another obstacle is the lack of technologically well-equipped laboratories for the diagnosis of accurate disease. Limited facilities do not reach the farming communities in remote areas. There is a dire need of trained manpower and broad-spectrum awareness attempts to encourage poor masses to pay attention not to undermine their livestock and the doctors avoid using hit and trial methods for diagnosing and cure which results in inefficiency in the treatment ultimately killing valuable animal stuff.  

Pakistan population is increasing on alarming rate whereas, livestock population faces regressive correlation. The demand for milk and meat is projected to grow by at least

5.0 % for milk and 6.5 % for meat in years to come. This leaves a tremendous gap in supply and demand situation which can only be addressed by concerted and combined efforts of public and private sectors.  

The bar gram below reveals ascending increase in Pakistan’s GDP from Agriculture. It may be concluded that over the years there has been a significant increase in contribution coming from agriculture for which livestock is a sub-sector. But this may be improved 2 folds by working on new applications in all dimensions.    

Unfortunately, nomadic, of Sindh and Baluchistan rear a significant number of animals mostly sheep, goat cattle and camel. These flocks, sometimes comprising between 100 to 500 animals, move constantly throughout the year in search of grazing and have zero realization of the livestock that moves with them. These nomadic demonstrate a sub-standard lifestyle, sometimes have been seen bagging.  For them, grazing is mainly free, but in some areas grazing or fodder may have to be purchased. There is some milking, to provide for family consumption and sale in the local market.  

If ever to be accepted, Pakistan’s poultry sector is doing very well. The poultry sector is an important and vibrant segment of agriculture in Pakistan with a significant contribution to the national GDP (1.3%). Commercial poultry production in Pakistan started in the 1960s and has been providing a significant portion of daily proteins to the Pakistani population ever since. During its evolution, the industry enjoyed promotional policies of the Government but has faced several challenges such as disease outbreaks and retail price fluctuations. Despite its important role in the country’s economy, not a single scientific study is available on its evolutionary history. The data available in this regard are scattered and lack reliability. This review is an effort to encompass the history of the overall growth of the poultry industry in Pakistan, its present status (2012 statistics) and future directions and challenges. This article may serve as the basic source of information on Pakistan’s poultry industry achievements. It will also guide poultry experts and policymakers for developing strategic planning for further growth of the industry (Hussain et al., 2017). However, there is yet a significant gap which is to be filled by supplementing poultry sector with fisheries, sheep, goat, cattle and buffalo industry. 

Keeping in view, the increasing demand for animal products, there is dire need to develop reasonably workable plans. For that purpose, attention must be focused on (a) conservation of pure germplasm by the establishment of resource centres throughout country (b) Grass root level counselling and awareness program for farming community aimed at proper nutritional plants for milk and meat breed to achieve maximum output (c) Nation-wise surveillance of infectious and non-infectious diseases aimed at prophylactic approach for health animals (d) starting programs aimed at improvement of genetic potential by selective breeding between potential poor and potential rich animals and (e) creation of transgenic animals for better productive output.   

 Note: 

The author is Chairperson  Department of Parasitology, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam-Pakistan   

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