REVOLUTION appears to be on the cards at least in the livestock sector. It is so as the government has approved a plan to jumpstart the economy through free distribution of American bulls’ semen worth Rs 40 billion to improve breeding.
Talking to the media persons, Special Assistant on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, said three million American exotic semen will be distributed free of cost amongst the farmers every year for the next three years to increase milk production from just four litres to fifteen litres a cow.
Pakistan is the fourth largest milk producing country in the world but while average milking yield of Australian, Dutch or American cows range between twenty-five to forty litres per day, that of Pakistani cows and buffalos is 6-8 litres per day.
Hence, the government has taken a step in the right direction to bolster the milk production through introduction of a better breed.
This indeed will not only significantly enhance the milk production of the country but also go a long way in improving the income levels of rural families which greatly rely on the livestock sector.
The scope of this plan should not be confined to Punjab province but the entire country, and the main focus should be the small livestock farmers.
At the same time, it is also important to impart basic education to livestock farmers about artificial insemination, modern milking methods, feed, animal comfort etc to increase the average milk yield. For this the role of provincial livestock becomes more important.
Despite being one of the largest milk producers, we still spend billions of rupees annually on the import of milk and milk related products.
In order to save the foreign exchange, we need to invest in food processing and bring value addition in dairy-related products.
Then most importantly, the availability of pure milk has almost become impossible especially for those residing in the urban centres.
The sellers mix water in the milk to pocket more profits. Provincial Food Authorities must fulfil their responsibilities and take strict action against such elements.