Dr Anam Khurshid
Livestock is very important sector and plays a key role in boosting Pakistan’s economy. It contributes 11.9% in GDP of Pakistan. If we look at current status of livestock sector in Pakistan, we can see a remarkable increase in livestock population, milk production, poultry sector and other livestock by-products, which ultimately result in improving domestic needs of population and uplifting of livelihood.
Sub-optimal livestock productivity is due to scarcity of forage and fodders, which in turn is due to extreme climate conditions, prolonged droughts, overgrazing, deforestation, poor farming practices and soil erosion. Deficiency disorders are because of the vegetation of desert being deficient in minerals and vitamins, and poisonings arising from specific fodder crops are common in the livestock of the desert.
The rural women are more illiterate and unaware of knowledge/skills regarding forages and fodders, and due to this delayed identification of deficiency disorders/ poisonings of their livestock, they are unable to draw economic benefits. We should empower rural women with basic knowledge of home-based nutritional implications for their livestock in order to efficiently utilise available feedstuff, prepare home-based feed formulations and hence enhance livestock production and their socio-economic profile.
We should give basic awareness to the rural women regarding ‘Deficiency Disorders’ or ‘Poisoning’ in their livestock arising due to specific fodder crop. An ultimate outcome in terms of enhanced livestock productivity will lead to poverty alleviation. At the moment, none of the training programs being carried out in Pakistan are specifically directed towards home-based nutritional implications for livestock. Women face more problems in accessing livestock services and information. A rural woman has poor access to markets, services, technologies and information which ultimately resulting in their low ability to improve productivity and benefit from a growing livestock sector. Such awareness programmes as a source of cash will ultimately help in breaking cycle of poverty in rural areas.