Reforms needed to uplift livestock and dairy sector

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan needs appropriate reforms to boost its livestock and dairy sector which has a huge potential to generate more revenue, experts say. Livestock has a substantial role in the agriculture sector as more than 50% population is involved in agro-based activities. The total share of the agriculture sector in the GDP growth of Pakistan is about 22.7%. At least 37.4% of labour force is associated with the agriculture sector of which more than 8 million rural families depend upon livestock.
Talking to WealthPK, Syed Jawed Hussain Kazmi, Chairman Livestock Exporters Association of Pakistan, said Pakistan must concentrate on the livestock sector for fast economic growth, poverty reduction, and food security. He said livestock can make a significant contribution to the country’s economy.
“In the livestock industry, around 70% of farmers have on average fewer than four cattle. It is imperative that a mechanism be devised to facilitate farmers in commercial farming while helping them increase the number of cattle,” he suggested.
“Pakistan can grab a greater share of the international meat market by improving the livestock sector,” he said. Jawed said awareness programs must be arranged for farmers, and the government should introduce technology in the livestock sector through innovative policies and laws.
“Mass vaccination of animals will help protect the livestock from foot and mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD),” he said. In rural areas, he pointed out, a large number of people are involved in livestock, including a large number of women, and livestock is their source of livelihood.
Livestock with a share of 61.89% in agriculture and 14.04% in GDP, recorded a growth of 3.26% in fiscal year 2021-22 compared to 2.38% in the preceding year. Talking to WealthPK, Kashif Ali, Manager Supply Chain, Gourmet Foods Pakistan, said Pakistan’s dairy sector can meet the local and international market demand with proper reforms and the use of modern techniques.
“A major challenge facing the dairy farmers is the low milking output of their animal business. Moreover, the milk that is offered is of low quality and unsafe. Lack of access to high-quality milk is a result of unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization, a decline in the number of healthy animals, and high operating costs,” he pointed out.
He said if the government helps local farmers, informs them about the latest technology, and offers subsidies on inputs, Pakistan can establish itself on the international market, and significantly increase its foreign reserve capacity. “Programs to educate farmers about quality measurements, increased animal productivity per unit, improved animal care, and vaccination, etc. are some of the actions the government should take on priority basis,” Kashif said.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema said at a recent meeting that there was a dire need for comprehensive reforms to uplift the livestock and dairy sector. “In accordance with global trends, we should modernize and develop the livestock and dairy sector. The government wants to make it easier for farmers to add value to their livestock and dairy products.