Livestock Sector Needs To Improve Animal Disease Surveillance System

Pakistan is blessed with several blessings, for which we must thank. Livestock in Pakistan is surely a blessing in disguise, on which the subsistence of poor families depends.

Livestock Sector Needs To Improve Animal Disease Surveillance System

Pakistan is blessed with several blessings, for which we must thank. Livestock in Pakistan is surely a blessing in disguise, on which the subsistence of poor families depends.

Pakistan certainly stands in a high position for having a diversified climate, natural resources including coal reserves, valuable minerals, fertile land both at plain fields and high altitudes, river water, and an almost 1120-kilometre coastal line at the shores of Badin, Thatta, Karachi, Gwadar, Pasni, and Ormara, of which some highly attractive beaches have huge potential to be utilised for trade and deep-sea fishing.

Besides, Pakistan has the best breeds of goat, sheep, cattle, and buffalo known for being insusceptible to a range of infections and having a 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 raw materials to downstream industries and helps alleviate poverty. In Pakistan, nearly 70 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture practises, contributing 19.8 percent to GDP, and it remains by far the largest employer, absorbing 42.3 percent of the country’s total labour force.

In Pakistan, livestock, to all extents, is not fully recognised and is never utilised for its applications. However, the livestock 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 off 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 a 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 utilised.

This may be due to conventional facilities. Most of the fishing boats being used in Pakistan are made of wood and are not capable of meeting the new demands. There are about 19 000 registered fishing boats in Pakistan, of which about 14 000 are operated from Sindh and the remaining 5 000 are operated from Baluchistan.

There is a dire need to make drastic changes to have safe and secure boats equipped with technologically advanced tools to be able to go deep-sea fishing.

In Pakistan, the Water and Power Development Authority oversees fisheries development. It is reported that the 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 fishermen 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 percent of the 8.6 million ha of freshwater bodies (rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and floodplains) are being utilised. There are 5,000 fish farms 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 percent, the inland fish production rate is expected to increase from 2.4 to 3.0 percent. Besides fisheries, cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats are gifts from God.

Pakistan is gifted with some of the best breeds that are very well adapted to the indigenous environmental conditions. The current population of farm animals in Pakistan consists 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 types and belong to two breeds, i.e., Nili-Ravi and Kundi. Nili-Ravi is the best dairy buffalo breed in the world. There are ten distinct breeds of cattle found in Pakistan.

However, these breeds probably only make up 30 percent of the population, and the rest of the population is generally classified as non-descript. 

The 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 Salt Range in Punjab; Bumbi, Kachhi, and Kooka in Sindh; Balkhi, Damani, and Kaghani in the 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 NWFP; and Khurassani, Lehri, and Pahari in Balochistan.

Twenty-one breeds of running, baggage, and dairy camels have been described. Mostly, animal herbs are reared by the rural masses, who have neither advanced knowledge of animal husbandry nor the required capital to invest in the prevention, treatment, and control of animal ailments (Afzal and Naqvi, 2004).

The livestock sector in Pakistan is confronted with many issues, some of which are big challenges. Livestock health is a limiting factor in productivity in Pakistan. Either there is a lack of knowledge or a paucity of capital to purchase treatment stuff.

It is also observed that the farming community is less aware of the benefits of animal rearing. Moreover, little attention is paid to breeding practises. Mostly bulls with low genetic potential are used, which never helps in improving production potential.

It is time to realise and compare the animal products of local breeds with those of the rest of the world. Of the 800 cattle breeds around the globe, Holstein-Friesian Cattle is an 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, and Kostroma, also 10,000 litres per 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.

Contrary to that, the cattle breeds of Pakistan are Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Cholistani, Dhanni, Tharparkar, Bhagnari, Djal, Lohani, Rojhan, and Kankrej. Of all these breeds, Sahiwal is ranked as the best milking cattle bred, yielding about 8–10 kg per day with a fat content of 4.5 % within an average lactation period of 10 months.

Comparatively, this is a 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 problem in livestock production in Pakistan. Without providing essential nourishment to the animal, its hereditary potential cannot be improved.

Pakistan is in dire need of developing a national policy to decide how much nutrition our animals need to express their full genetic potential for productivity. To develop feeding standards for buffaloes, cattle, sheep, and goats, no serious effort has been made.

Another obstacle is the lack of technologically well-equipped laboratories for accurate disease diagnosis. Limited facilities do not reach farming communities in remote areas.

There is a dire need for trained manpower and broad-spectrum awareness efforts in Pakistan to encourage the poor masses to pay attention and not undermine their livestock, and the doctors avoid using hit-and-run methods for diagnosis and cure, which results in inefficiency in the treatment and ultimately kills valuable animal stuff.

Pakistan’s population is increasing at an alarming rate, whereas the livestock population faces a regressive correlation. The demand for milk and meat is projected to grow by at least 5% for milk and 6.5% for meat in the years to come.

This leaves a tremendous gap in the supply and demand situation, which can only be addressed by the concerted and combined efforts of the public and private sectors. There is data available that reveals an ascending increase in Pakistan’s GDP from agriculture.

It may be concluded that over the years there has been a significant increase in the contribution coming from agriculture, of which livestock is a sub-sector. But this may be improved twofold by working on new applications in all dimensions.

Unfortunately, the nomadic people of Sindh and Baluchistan rear a significant number of animals, mostly sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. These flocks, sometimes comprising between 100 and 500 animals, move constantly throughout the year in search of grazing and have zero realisation of the livestock that moves with them.

These nomadic people demonstrate a sub-standard lifestyle and have sometimes 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 for sale in the local market. If ever 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 protein to the Pakistani population ever since. During its evolution, the industry enjoyed the 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 is scattered and lacks 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.

The existing sources may serve as the basic source of information on Pakistan’s poultry industry achievements. It will also guide poultry experts and policymakers in developing strategic planning for further growth of the industry (Hussain et al., 2017).

However, there is still a significant gap that must be filled by supplementing the poultry sector with fisheries, sheep, goats, cattle, and buffalo industries. Keeping in view the increasing demand for animal products, there is a dire need to develop reasonably workable plans.

For that purpose, attention must be focused on

(a) the conservation of pure germplasm by the establishment of resource centres throughout the country

(b) A grass-roots level counselling and awareness program for the farming community aimed at proper nutritional plants for milk and meat breeds to achieve maximum output

(c) Nation-wise surveillance of infectious and non-infectious diseases aimed at prophylactic approaches for healthy animals

(d) starting programmes aimed at improving genetic potential by selective breeding between potential poor and potential rich animals and

(e) creation of transgenic animals for better productive output

Moreover, there is huge potential to exploit the sources using biotechnology for human welfare and economic benefit. This needs both individual and national attention. There is every likelihood that small and large scales will best benefit from technology.