By Fakhar Alam
PESHAWAR, Jan 26 (APP):Poultry farming continues with upward trajectory with over 1.02 billion broilers being produced annually which contribute in boosting rural economy and poverty alleviation in the country.
Following the creation of Pakistan, people were largely dependent on domestic poultry, mostly comprised of native breeds of chickens and eggs to fulfill their meat proteins and economic needs. In 1960s, the commercial poultry had gained roots in Pakistan by showing a sustainable growth despite different challenges.
It was during 1970’s when the sector witnessed a growth of 20–30 percent per annum which continues to grow at the rate of 10–15 percent in 1980’s owing to vibrant domestic market and increase in poultry meat consumption courtesy to population explosion.
During last three years, the domestic and commercial poultry had showed substantial growth as estimated production of the domestic poultry was registered as 85.86 million units in 2016-17, 87.16 million units in 2017-18 and 88.19 million units in 2018-19.
The investors after sensing high profits prospects focused on commercial poultry by establishing around 20,000 modern poultry farms in the country including about 5000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mostly located in Manshera, Abbottabad, Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, Chitral, Batagram, Charsadda, Bajaur, Malakand, Shangla, Buner, Kohat, Hangu, Kurram, Swat, Orakzai and Peshawar.
According to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Livestock Policy 2018, Pakistan has achieved a substantial growth rate of 8-10 percent per year in poultry sector making it the 11th largest poultry producer country of the world.
The KP Government, keeping in view of its enormous economic and health benefits, launched ‘Backyard Poultry Farming Program’ under the Prime Minister National Agriculture Emergency Program (NAEP) to alleviate poverty and generate employment opportunities for people besides ensuring economic empowerment of the women folk.
Contributing 1.4 percent share in GDP in 2015-16 and attracting over Rs 200 billion investments, the poultry sector input in agriculture and livestock value-added stood at 6 percent and 11.7 percent. Its value added factor-cost has jacked up from Rs 140.5 billion in 2014-15 to Rs 151.2 billion in 2015-16, showing a raise of 7.6 percent compared to last year. Similarly, poultry’s share stands at 30 percent in the country’s total meat production which provide jobs to over 1.5 million people.
Similarly, commercial poultry witnessed an upward growth of 1022.13 million units in 2016-17, 1122. 29 million units in 2017-18 and 1232. 33 million units in 2018-19 besides registering 9.1 pc growth rate of poultry meat and 5.6 pc of eggs production during 2018-19.
Talking to APP, Dr. Qazi Ziaur Rehman, Project Director NAEP, Livestock and Dairy Development Department said that the PM’s NAEP worth Rs.309.7 billion has recently been launched in all four provinces including KP primarily focusing on 16 mega projects related to agriculture, livestock and poultry sectors. He said that the federal government would provide Rs85 billion and provincial governments would contribute Rs175 billion besides Rs50 billion share of farmers in this landmark national program.
Dr Zia said KP’s three major livestock programs including Feedlot Fattening Project worth Rs 826million, Save the Calf worth of Rs1554 million and Poverty Alleviation through Poultry Development of Rs 834.814 million were launched after its inclusion in NEAP. He said that out of Rs834.814million funds, Rs136.936 million would be provided by Federal Government, Rs547.850 million by KP Govt and remaining by beneficiaries.
“PM poultry initiative is an inclusive program primarily targeting downtrodden and poor segments under which one million poultry birds would be distributed among 166,667 poor households during next four years in KP”, he added.
Dr Mazhar Ilyas, Monitoring Officer, Poultry Program said it was observed that eggs production had been started by poultry units in Kohat, Mardan and Swabi districts and the beneficiaries are earning a handsome livelihood.
Mohibullah Khan, Provincial Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Department said inspite of 43 percent of the labour force employed in the agriculture sector, only Rs. 40 billion were spent in KP in the agriculture, livestock and poultry sectors during the past 60 years. He said PTI government would spend Rs95 billion on developments of these agriculture sectors during its five years. Poultry program is being extended to merged areas which would be completed in different phases.
The Minister said a modern poultry research centre had been established in Jaba Mansehra district to conduct research on poultry related diseases and to prepare life saving chickens vaccines. The Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan and KP CM Mahmood Khan would soon inaugurate gigantic agriculture and livestock projects in the province that would change destiny of the people.