By Taj Nabi Khan
ISLAMABAD, Dec 08 (APP):Balochistan’s potential of ‘Livestock Industry’ offers a wide range of opportunities and prospects for local as well as the international investors to invest in the emerging industry of the region.
The province is rich in livestock resources contributing about 40 percent of Pakistan’s total livestock population. The main consumers of its livestock include leather, carpet and pharmaceutical industries.
Being a pastoral economy, the area is yet to exploit its tremendous and untapped potential in the emerging sector of livestock as animals are traditionally kept for meeting the household milk and meat needs.
No doubt, the livestock development is linked with poverty alleviation as 70 percent population of the province is directly or indirectly linked with livestock rearing activities. The socio-economic conditions of the farmers can be boosted with little investment and innovation in the industry.
The local farmers know very little about the modern animal husbandry practices as there is no organized cattle farming activity. Hence, the province suffers low productivity due to poor breeding and rearing. They also lack proper healthcare coverage for animals, marketing system and extension services.
The provincial government is working to upgrade the dairy and livestock sectors to exploit its full potential to generate economic activities for the people of the province.
The livestock is dependent on grazing in rangelands, which make 40 percent of the total landmass in the province. During winter, the farmers living in central Balochistan migrate with their flocks to lower lands in Sibi and Kachhi plains for the purpose of grazing of their flocks.
Livestock is an important sector of rural economy contributing about 40 percent to the provincial GDP. According to one estimate, the province maintains 2.253581 million cattle, 12.804217 million sheep, 11.784711 million goats, 0.319854 million buffaloes, 0.379528 million camels, 0.059973 million horses, 0.006256 million mules, 0.471942 million donkeys and 5.911304 million poultry.
Livestock contributes Rs. 20 billion with share of meat 40%, milk 35%, eggs 13%, skin, hides & wool 10% and others 2%. The province annually produces 28,000 tons of beef and 204,000 tons of mutton.
Ironically, the provincial government allocates a nominal amount for the development of this sector, which is the primary sustainable source of living for over 70 percent of local population.
The provincial government held first-ever livestock expo in Quetta on November 18-20 this year. The three-day livestock Expo aimed at increasing meat productivity to boost the economy of the province.
For highlighting the livestock potential of the province, the Government of Balochistan in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (UNO), University of Balochistan, Quetta, and Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) has organized an International Conference on “Livestock in Balochistan Prospects and Opportunities” on November 08, 2019.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said that Balochistan was a land of opportunities and the livestock industry had been given various incentives in terms of innovations in the industry for promoting participation of the farmers, mill owners and other Livestock related industries.
He said Balochistan had been the key contributor in promoting the Livestock industry.
The Chief Minister reiterated that the government was committed to uplift livestock and agriculture sector in the province. He said that $80 billion Halal meat industry existed at the international level and Balochistan could boost the overall economy by exporting organic meat.
Former Minister Livestock and Dairy Development, Punjab Mumtaz Mohammad Khan Manais, highlighted the importance for preserving livestock and its ties with the region of Balochistan and its people. He, however, said that the farmers must be strengthened as livestock and farming was one of the main factors in eradicating poverty and generating income.
Representative from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan, M. Masud Zamani shared his thoughts explaining ties of Iran with Pakistan and the joint initiatives taken in the Livestock industry of Pakistan.
Minister Counsellor (Economic and Commercial) Dr Wang Zhihua discussed the Pakistan-China joint cooperation for regional development and international market access to Pakistan.
Deputy Head Commission from the Australian High Commission to Pakistan Brek Betlay highlighted the global ranking of Australia in the livestock industry and emphasized about the quality measures taken by Australia to improve the industry in Pakistan.