Pakistan’s Dairy Industry, A Major Contributor To National Economy
Pakistan’s dairy industry is a significant source of foreign exchange earnings as well as an income source for over eight million rural families.
The dairy industry of Pakistan has historically been a major player in the global dairy market. Its significance is reflected in the sector’s 3.26 percent growth in 2020–21, accounting for approximately 61.89 percent of agricultural value additions and 14.06 percent of the country’s GDP.
As such, it is a significant source of foreign exchange earnings as well as an income source for over eight million rural families. Milk is the most important single commodity in the livestock industry.
The private sector has dominated dairy industry of Pakistan. The efforts of the corporate sector have resulted in great efforts in its growth and development, resulting in massive improvements within the industry. Over time, higher growth in the livestock sector has been attributed primarily to milk production.
However, the sector as a whole is not without indigenous issues. Health hazards pose a significant threat, particularly in the aftermath of floods, which have given rise to water- and air-borne diseases. As a result, the dairy industry will face unsustainable operational costs in the near future.
Despite this, the local dairy industry of Pakistan has developed to a fairly advanced level, with high per capita production levels and a diverse range of processed milk products. Milk availability per capita in Pakistan has nearly tripled over the last three decades.
While per capita milk availability has risen almost three times over the last three decades, imports of milk and milking products have increased from Rs0.3bn in 1975–76 to Rs20bn in 2017–18.
Imports of milk and milking products totaled Rs0.3 billion in 1975–76, rising to Rs1.4 billion in 1990–91, Rs3 billion in 2007–08, and Rs20 billion in 2017–18. This emphasises the importance of identifying what is happening in the industry around the world and successfully replicating it in the local setup.
For the layperson, this means that large-scale dairy producers could benefit from global specialised knowledge related to disease and pest control, knowledge for implementing new technologies offered by scientific institutes, and knowledge related to the production process itself and methods to reduce production costs and achieve higher yields.
International experts’ know-how and information-sharing directly implement the knowledge that locals receive under their supervision. This enables them to request additional guidance and hands-on assistance in real-time as dairy plants transform into learning centres to help the dairy industry.
These collaborative efforts include enhancements such as herd expansion, increased animal productivity, and improved milk collection, processing, marketing, and supply of dairy inputs (machinery, equipment, feeds, semen, and elite dairy animals).
Local farmers’ knowledge and skills in modern farming, as well as management practises, will raise the industry’s standard. For example, FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan Ltd.’s Dairy Development Programme extends local farmers’ learnings through their Dutch counterparts. The programme demonstrated on-the-ground and in-farm best practices, how to optimise resource use, and provided advice on-site.
In Pakistan, the importance of knowledge sharing within a country, whether at the central, regional, or governmental levels, has been largely overlooked. In a knowledge-based economy, performance and productivity are critical success factors.
It measures the long-term viability of economic development. Competencies, skills, and knowledge are essential components for individuals and organisations seeking a competitive advantage.
The learning process and community culture that result from this collaboration facilitate decision-making at the ground (on farms), organisational (producers), and societal (consumers) levels.
Similarly, in the dairy industry, where critical decisions must be made in areas such as planning, marketing, research and development, production, quality control, and so on, knowledge sharing is an essential practise to assist farmers and other stakeholders in improving productivity.
On a macro level, the experience and livelihood of practitioners, both individually and as members of a larger community of practitioners, will see a significant socioeconomic uplift. It is critical to comprehend the pattern of knowledge sharing among farmers and the application of good practises at the community level, which makes learning and education among farmers more efficient in its reuse.
On a local level, dairy is a significant contributor to the national economy. As a result, it is critical that the sector receive full attention, particularly in terms of farmer education and training.
Farmers’ knowledge and experiences with climate change, local farmer innovations, natural resource management, and indigenous knowledge could be documented to document best agricultural practises.
Special attention needs to be given to technical matters, such as R&D and entrepreneurship, to turn the farmers into knowledge workers who could share, utilise and generate good practices for the benefit of their fraternity.
Creating and sharing knowledge requires communication and is considered a social process. There is no knowledge in existence that did not arise from pre-existing knowledge, and what exists today arose from what existed previously.As a result, sharing knowledge is a requirement for its creation.
Knowledge is not lost as a result of the sharing process. Rather, it is multiplied, enriched, and advanced, and all parties benefit from the process.