Livestock farming is an integral part of rural economy of Pakistan. Despite the laissez faire type of public approach for the development of this sector, it has grown at impressive rate. Presently, this sector is sharing almost 50% to the total value addition in agriculture sector and almost 11% of national GDP. Only the milk produced has value higher than the combined value of wheat and cotton. National Commission on Agriculture clearly emphasized that “one of the main reasons for the lack of development in the livestock sub-sector is the exceeding defective system of marketing of livestock and livestock products”. Realizing the importance of the issue, a nation wide study was carried out, with the assistance of FAO Pakistan, to investigate the marketing of live animals and their products in the country. Besides marketing of live animals, the selling system of different livestock products like milk, meat, wool, hides and skins were investigated.
It was found that majority of the animals brought for sale in livestock markets were low milk yielding and have poor body score. The livestock markets lack even basic facilities while local governments collect a handsome amount of revenues from these markets. Beoparies or traders are the major players in these markets while the farmers, as sellers and buyers, have relatively little information about competitive prices of the animals.
In milk marketing, dhodies or milkmen are the only dominant intermediary. Consumers, shopkeepers, veterinarians and researchers report a number of adulterations and contaminations in the milk supplied by dhodies. The competitive milk marketing in the pasteurized and UHT forms is at highly limited scale and UHT milk prices are almost double than the loose fresh milk supplied by dhodies.
In meat marketing, the abattoirs are the production points and butchers’ shops are the only vending points to the consumers. The abattoirs are seriously lacking basic sanitation facilities (like light, adequate water supply, space for slaughtering and animal keeping, meat refrigeration, and disposal of offal) all over the country. A large portion of the by-products such as blood, glands, intestines, and bones are either wasted or poorly processed. The hygienic conditions of the slaughterhouses and meat shops are very poor. One of the underlying reasons is that these facilities were not periodically updated because of complex administratively procedures involved. The flayers and butchers are also not professionally trained. The fixing the prices of beef and mutton by local governments are serious obstacles in buying good quality animals for slaughtering.
Due to poor flaying, lot of damages occurred to hides and skins right at the production points. The collection and disposal of these hides and skins is a lengthy process and proper care is not given to these useful products on their way from production point till it reaches the tanneries. In town or city markets, the hides and skins business is in the hands of commission agents or “arthies”. The price is mostly dictated by the beopari who decides the price on the basis of weight and cleanliness and they have the updated price information.
In case of wool, due to clipping with scissors, the quality is damaged right at the production point. The local wool collector mixes fleece of different flock into one consignment and in this way he adds some dirt to increase the weight. No quality control measures are practiced during wool marketing. Virtually all livestock and livestock products provide relatively a meager rate of return compared to the investment. This is true at each stage of largely traditional marketing systems.
Creation of a Livestock Marketing Regulatory Authority is recommended to ensure good governance in marketing of livestock and livestock products.
Practicing of SPS measures in production and marketing of milk and meat marketing.
Provision of milk pasteurization and chilling facilities in deep rural areas, and hides/skins processing facilities in NWFP and Balochistan.
Sharif, M., W. Malik, N. I. Hashmi and U. Farooq. (2003). “Action Plan for Livestock Marketing Systems in Pakistan”, Joint study by Social Sciences Institute NARC and FAO Office Islamabad, Pakistan.