Govt urged for steps to cope with livestock, dairy sector challenges

Iqtidar Gilani Our Correspondent

25th Nov, 2021. 07:40 pm
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LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar have urged the government to take practical measures for enabling the livestock/dairy sector to cope with the prevailing challenges.

“[The] government should incentivise the private sector for import of high yielding cattle breeds. It should also withdraw duty and taxes on [the] import of dairy processing machinery and equipment to encourage value addition,” the speakers said during the seminar on “How to enhance milk production”, organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Punjab Minister for Public Prosecution Chaudhry Zaheer-ud-Din Khan, former minister for livestock and dairy development Mumtaz Ahmed Manhais, Livestock and Dairy Development secretary Naveed Haider Sherazi, LCCI senior vice president Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and vice president Haris Ateeq were the key speakers.

Addressing the participants through video-link, Syed Fakhar Imam stressed the need to hold livestock census, saying that accurate data would help evolve strategy for the promotion of the livestock sector.

There was a need to increase the milk processing ratio, which was currently just 7 per cent to 8 per cent of the total production.

“Pakistan is far behind in animal breeding,” he said, adding that this area needed to be worked on. He called for measures to increase dairy production and value addition.

The youth should be encouraged to join the field of animal science so that the livestock sector could be built on modern lines, he said and called for short-, medium-and long-term strategies.

Chaudhry Zaheer-ud-Din Khan said that the processing of milk and allied products could help increase the exports, adding that the halal meat sector has the potential to get a major share in the international market.

To promote value addition in the country, Khan said that the duties and taxes on the import of dairy processing machinery should be withdrawn.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that the gross milk production in 2020/21 stood at 63.7 million tonnes, compared with 61.7 million tonnes in 2019/20.

Milk consumption was 51.3 million tonnes in 2020/21, compared with 49.7 million tonnes in 2019/20; however, as per the ITC World Trade Map, Pakistan’s dairy exports in 2020 stood at $42.7 million, declining consistently ever-since peaking at $108 million in 2013.

Sharing the figures from the UNO’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the LCCI president said the global milk production has increased by more than 59 per cent to 843 million tonnes in 2018 from 530 million tonnes in 1998.

“Unfortunately, a large quantity of milk produced in rural/remote areas is lost because of having no or small storage facilities. Poor road infrastructure and [the] lack of transportation facilities are [the] reasons for loss of milk,” he said, adding that the majority of the farmers owned low yield animals.

“Though the country has more milk-producing animals than the US, milk production is far lower. Moreover, our farmers mostly like to keep cows and buffaloes, whereas in other parts of the world, camels, goats and sheep are also kept for milk production,” he said, adding that average milk yield of a cow was 14 litres/day, while buffalos could produce 10 litres daily.

“There are smallholders who keep less than five animals to produce milk only to meet family requirements. They must be targeted to enhance milk production through provision of awareness. The developed countries have increased milk yield of a cow to more than 40 litres/day through consistent improvement in many areas related to the dairy industry during the last 60 years. But we are still following the conventional methods,” he said.

The government should encourage import of high-quality feed stuff/micro-ingredients for improving the nutritional quality of animals.

He suggested the government to ensure transfer of technology and facilitate joint ventures with the multinational companies from Australia and Sweden who were famous for their advanced dairy sector.

The research and extension of livestock production, products processing and marketing was imperative to make this sector economically viable for the farmers and the investors.

He said the government should develop milk storage facilities at farm level, devise transportation strategies and distribution networks.

Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that the dairy industry was performing much below than the actual potential.

“It is high time to educate our farmers about modern methods of taking better care of animals. It will certainly impact the milk yield and quality of produce. [The] farmers should be trained for selecting appropriate and nutritious feed for cattle,” he added.

Haris Ateeq said that the government should educate farmers to plan timely vaccination of animals from the qualified veterinary doctors.