By Prof M. Subhan Qureshi

WE AS a nation could not focus on the issues that really deserve our attention. This has resulted in poverty and many other social evils as well. And we are losing time in identifying and addressing these issues. One of these issues is the livestock sector, which in spite of huge investment of $73 billion by the people of Pakistan, it can neither provide certified clean food to the consumers within the countries, nor can it be reflected in the export market. We can get surplus of livestock products to the tune of at least $25 billion for export.

After graduating for PhD during 1998, I found that we are losing our huge export potential; in spite of standing at 4th position in milk production. My PhD thesis was on buffalo reproduction-nutrition interaction at the peri-urban dairy farms and I had to stay with the farmers and at the laboratories till late night. I discussed the issues with them and considered various approaches for changing the fate of these people. The Indian example of Village Milk Cooperative System was discussed where the farmers joined hands and got all types of scientific, financial and marketing support from various agencies.

My ideas floated on the national press and the internet and the higher authorities were persuaded to constitute the Livestock Board and exchange delegations with Australia and New Zealand. Pakistan Dairy Company was established. The company was successful in introduction of new technologies to the farms. The Livestock Board tried to intervene in dairy and meat production and marketing, but with little success due to the bureaucratic approach.

To bring the issue into limelight the International Workshop on Diary Science Park (November 21-23, 2011) was conducted at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University Peshawar. At the workshop, experts from academia, research, extension and industry, policy makers and farmers community presented papers and exchanged ideas to work out a comprehensive plan for the development of dairy industry in the province.

The peri-urban dairy farms provide a good source for milk and surplus animals for the slaughter house. However, this is also posing a threat to the environment by producing pollutants to the air, water and soil. The workshop was a good attempt and attracted a good number of papers, exceeding 100, from various universities and research and development organizations, out of which about 60 were selected for oral presentation.

The recommendations of the workshop comprise the following segments.

Business support

The semi-commercial activities of the faculty will be pulled under Dairy Science Park at Agricultural University Peshawar, in line with the idea generated in Egypt during conversation between Prof M Subhan Qureshi, Chief Organizer IW-DSP, 2011 and Abdur Rahman Ilyas, ICRISAT, India.

Private sector will be encouraged and attracted to invest in livestock and dairy sector by providing them conducive environment and relief in policies.

Infrastructural support

Establishment of salvage farms for rearing and caring of dry animals and to prevent them from slaughtering to maintain the genetic pool of best breeds of livestock population

Establishment of modern slaughter houses with advance facilities to ensure the production of quality meat to the consumers and to be used for research purposes targeted at meat industry expansion and provision of HALAL MEAT to the entire Muslim community.

Legislative and policy support

Quality control systems shall be introduced and standards shall be defined for milk, meat and by-products to certify for entry into local and international markets. Quality control shall be introduced in milk and meat marketing.

Regulating the slaughtering of animals to prevent the losses of potential animals, especially under-age and pregnant animals and to address public health concerns by rejecting animals carrying zoonotic risks.

Current marketing system is outdated and need to be re-structured and re-organized. This requires a detail analysis of the present marketing system to make it producers and consumers friendly and attract new investments. The income coming out of the slaughter houses and cattle market shall be spent on the business support initiatives proposed under this draft.

Animal production support

Integration of the four pillars into development strategy, i.e. 1) Genetics 2) Nutrition 3) Management 4) Health.

Local breed improvement programs should be launched and collaborated with other provinces. A provincial nucleus of different breeds of dairy animal should be established to improve their production potential and to conserve them through advance techniques. Achai conservation activities may be linked with research setup for meaningful data analysis and strategy development.

Camel has got extraordinary potentials to produce milk. This milk has been narrated as a panacea for different human diseases in Hadith. This miraculous milk should be investigated in modern scientific ways to be used as a good source of income and medicine.

Azikhili Buffaloes, a well known breed of the province has got wonderful features and milk producing potentials. It is warranted to deeply investigate their genetic make-up to fully exploit its milk production potentials and adoptability to the local climate.

Nutritional status of livestock in the province should be improved by promoting high yielding and nutritive fodders and improving pastures conditions for grazing livestock.

Establishment of silos (for silage making) at commercial level to ensure the availability of feed for livestock throughout the year at affordable prices for both commercial and non-commercial farmers

Animal health support

Developing and testing locally produced medicines and vaccines to reduce health related costs and to create new employment opportunities.

The potential benefits of herbs in veterinary medicine shall be exploited on modern scientific basis to ensure safe end products for consumers.

Efforts shall be made to investigate and minimize all sorts of stresses, especially heat stress to improve reproduction in dairy animals. Different approaches must be undertaken (nutritional and environmental) to cope with high heat stress during summer temperatures and production stress in the genetically improved animals.

Environment and energy solutions

Environment related issues should also be focused before launching any big dairy project to keep our environment safe.

Renewable energy solutions may be introduced for safety of environment and self sufficiency in energy production.

Institutional strengthening and Coordination

Various institutions in the public and private sectors are working to support the livestock related activities, however the coordination is not very affective. The major stakeholders namely academia, research, extension, civil society and industry must join hands for collaborating their activities and sharing information and resources for achieving the common goal of supporting the livestock sector to play its due role in food security and income generation. A working committee may be assigned this task.

Researchers and institutions need to be facilitated and strengthened to promote quality research and resolve problems of dairy sector. International standards shall be incorporated in the research system. Career development of the scientists for better delivery of services is required.

Training of livestock workers, researchers and other scientist to cope with the new challenges of modern livestock and dairy sector. Short training courses for livestock farmers and school and college students (during summer vacations) in the rural areas. Establishment of ISO standard laboratories to assess the quality of feed, water, drugs and other inputs for consumption by livestock and analysis of livestock products for fitness for human consumption. Devising on farm tests to check feed and water quality.

The ITAC Cell at the KPCCI will be assigned the task of livestock business support and linkages with the University, Livestock and Dairy Development Departments, (Extension and Research) and SMEDA.

Effective linkage of the cell with other CCIs and financing agencies

Incorporating the internship concept into the work plans of all relevant organizations for career development of the outgoing graduates and producing quality manpower for boosting the national economy through jobs finding in the local industry and abroad. All the friends have very kindly contributed to make the event a success. All the well wishers of Pakistan are hereby requested to support the mission in finding partnership for the hub of dairy enterprises and supporting agencies from academic, research, development, business and financial institutions to utilize the resources productively for producing clean food for local and international markets and bringing prosperity to the homes of all those who are involved in food production without getting appropriate returns for their investments.

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