Livestock is a major sector in agriculture. Livestock accounts for 52.2 % of agricultural value added. It contributes 11% to Gross Domestic Products (GDP). About 30-35 million rural people depends directly or indirectly on livestock sector for their livelihoods. It has potential to absorb more rural workforce to alleviate rural poverty if proper attention is given to this sector. Pakistan is proud to be world’s fifth largest milk producer. In addition to food products, livestock sector also provide draught power, milk, meat, eggs, manure which is used as fuel or fertilizer, feathers, fiber, hides, and horns. In today’s world, it role in food security can not be overstated. In order to achieve sustained development in agriculture, it is extremely important for the government to give more attention to livestock and dairy sector. Realizing its significance to poverty alleviation, the government has started giving some attention to this sector but no big national or international investment have been seen in dairy, beef, mutton or carpet wool production sub- sectors of livestock. Most of the livestock production system is still orthodox and rural subsistence oriented. Some investment in this sector is appreciable but still there is a lot which need to be done
It is pre-request for the sustainable economy of the country to increase the animal production. There are many issues in the animal production which should be addressed properly. Constraints and problems to increase livestock or animal production are almost similar in Asian countries. The most considerable constraints in Pakistan are nutrition, animal health, animal productivity/genetic make-up of the animals, provision of finance to livestock farmers, livestock extension and marketing. These factors are briefly discussed below.
Adequate nutrition is a major problem in livestock production. With out providing the required nutrition to the animal the genetic potential can not be exploited. It is yet to be decided that how much nutrients our animals needs to express their full genetic potential of productivity. To develop feeding standards of buffaloes, cattle, sheep and goat, no serious effort has been made. It is difficult for extensionist to recommend accurately to livestock farmers that what standard he has to follow to feed his cow for cost-effective milk and meat productivity. Some advancement has been made in this regard however there is a lot need to done for revolution in animal nutrition. The availability of green fodder is not sufficient. Fodder availability can be ensured round the year by following the “year around fodder availability chart” to cultivate fodder. Cotton cake (Khal) was considered a balance diet by the farmers but in fact it is unbalanced diet which leads to less productivity.
Wheat and rice straw (toorhi) is commonly used by the farmers for their animals with out urea treatment. Urea treatment is strongly recommended because by this practice the nutritional value of straw can be increased up to 70 percent. it was commonly observed that farmers do not know that how to treat the straw. There is need to educate the farmers in this regard.
Preservation of fodder can play an important role in nutrition. Silage and Hey making are common techniques to preserve fodder. The preserved fodder has more nutritional value and can be used by animals in the seasonal starvation. But farmers do not practice the silage and hey making which exacerbate the nutritional deficiency.
Wanda is considered a complete diet for the animals by the village people and they use to feed it to the pregnant and lactation animals. It is not a good practice because wanda is not a balanced diet and animal need nutrients in addition to this. As farmers do not have awareness about the fact, their ignorance leads under nutrition of animals.
Livestock health is a limiting factor to productivity. A major problem is the lack of knowledge and awareness about the productive benefits of disease control. Those farmers, who are aware of the benefits, have limited access to appropriate vaccines and therapeutic drugs. Animal production systems are affected by different types of diseases with varying capacity. The disease i.e. helminthosis and tick-borne are more important regarding animal productivity. In short the diseases can seriously affect productivity and profitability.
Vaccination and treatment for the animals was generally ignored by the livestock farmers which results huge losses regarding productivity and number of heads.
Farmers use to inject oxytocine to lactating animals for milk let down which entirely hazardous for reproductive organs and productivity as well.
Farmers use to practice traditional methods for animal cure which exacerbate the problems for animal health.
Lack of diagnosis of diseases is major factor in low productivity. Due to insufficient diagnostic laboratories the doctors use hit and trial methods for diagnose and cure which results inefficiency in the treatment.
Mastitis (inflammation of udder) is a major problem in lactating animal. It significantly decreases the milk production. Farmers have no awareness about the diagnosis and cure about this disease. Farmers usually care their diseased animals up to 2-3 days but this disease needs care up to 10 days.
External and internal parasites of animals also cause low productivity. It is important to check the fecal sample in every month to diagnose and de worm the animals. But the practice is ignored by the farmers.
In Pakistan, quacks (neem hakeem) are very active in curing animals in the villages. These non-technical persons often treat animals with hit and trial methods which some time cause even death of the animal.
Animal Productivity/Genetic Potential
Pakistan has breeds with low genetic potential Sire (bull). The breeds with best potential such as Sahiwal cow and Nili-Ravi buffalo are rarely found at the farms of small and medium farmers who contribute the big share of heads. These pure breeds are in fact in danger. There is need to save and exploit the genetic potential of the high yielding breeds. It is common observation that there is a trend among farmers to cross the animals by imported semen. This practice is a big threat to our local and potential breeds. It is interesting to tell that Australia had demanded the 100 pure Sahiwal breed and Pakistan could not provide. It shows that the country is being lost the breed.
Lack of Livestock Credit
To establish the modern livestock farms, it needs huge investment. Unlike crop sector, livestock sector required more capital. The absence of credit disbursement to small and medium-scale farmers the involvement of poor in the commercialization of livestock production is restricted.
Poor livestock extension activities
Livestock extension wing in the country is poorly performing and biased toward large farmers tending to neglect poor rural livestock-keepers. Public sector Follow a top-down transfer of technology approach. It is now universally accepted that this approach is not result oriented instead bottom up approach should be adopted in which the participation of the livestock farmers should be ensured. In extension programs only large ruminants are focused and the other species are almost excluded which need to be addressed.
The extension services are concentrated in the areas where potential for livestock is high. The services should be evenly provided to the farmers, and neglected areas in fact deserve more. The extension messages are not frequently disseminated through print and electronic media. There is dire need to educate the farmers as with out educating there the dream of high productivity can not be realized.
Poor Marketing System
Proper marketing system encourages the animal productivity. Poor marketing system is also a significant constraint in the animal productivity. Private sector has organized the farmers’ association for their own interest. These associations collect milk for the organizations. Regarding marketing farmers are on the mercy of beoparies and dodhies. These market players exploit the poor farmers. There should be systematic marketing system which could ensure the profit share of the farmers.