LIVESTOCK SECTOR occupies a unique position in the socio-economic development of Pakistan. It also plays an important role in the rural economy as supplementing family incomes and generating gainful employment in the rural population, particularly among the landless labourers, small and marginal farmers and women. About 30-35 million rural population is engaged in livestock raising, having household holdings of 2-3 cattle/buffalo and 5-6 sheep/goat per family which help them to drive 30-40 per cent of their income from livestock.
Dairy, meat and poultry sector is a considerable major sector of livestock. Livestock contributes approximately 55.1 per cent to the agriculture value added and 11.6 per cent to the national GDP during 2010-12. Gross Value Added of the livestock sector at constant factor cost has increased from Rs 672 billion (2010-11) to Rs 700 billion (2011-12) showing an increase of 4.0 per cent as compared to previous year.
Livestock population in Pakistan
In Pakistan, livestock includes cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, horses, asses and mules. Buffalo breeds found in Pakistan are Nili Ravi, Kundi and Aza Kheli. Nili Ravi is considered the best buffalo breed in the world and known as Black Gold of Pakistan. The cattle breeds found in the country are Sahiwal, Cholistani, Red Sindhi, Achai, Bhagnari, Dajal, Dhanni, Gibrali, Kankraj, Lohani, Rojhan, and Thari. Out of these, Sahiwal, Cholistani, and Red Sindhi are main dairy breeds and well known internationally due to their distinct characteristics. Goat is considered as `poor man’s cow’. Some rural and urban people keep goats and sheep and use their milk for domestic consumption.
Role of poultry sector in livestock economy
Poultry is the second largest industry of Pakistan. This sector generates employment (direct/indirect) and income for about 1.5 million people. The poultry sector is one of the most organized and vibrant segments of the agriculture industry of the country. Its contribution in agriculture and livestock is 6.4 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively. Poultry meat contributes 28.5 per cent of the total meat production in country. Poultry sector includes domestic/rural and commercial poultry. In domestic poultry include cocks, hens, chicken, and their products i.e. eggs and meat. Commercial poultry include layers, broilers, and their products i.e. egg and meat.
Meat, wool, hair, bones, fat, blood eggs, hides and skins are the main livestock products. When the horns are properly handled and processed, they provide a variety of practical and decorative articles including buttons, toggles, combs, spoons, forks, knife handles, napkin rings, wall decoration, shoes, horns, etc. The hide of animal is an important item both for export and for local industry. Pakistan is one of the world’s largest producers of good quality hides and skins, and about a million of animals are slaughtered annually. Leather is considered to be the most important raw material in the country’s economy. Faces tremendously used as fuel and organic fertilizer by the rural people.
Pakistan is fourth largest milk producing country in the world. Milk is produced by buffalo, cattle, sheep, goat and camel but being major contributor in milk production, cattle and buffalo are considered major dairy animals. Milk is favorite food in Pakistan and is consumed as fresh, boiled, powdered and in processed form as yogurt, ghee, lassi, butter, cheese, ice cream, sweets and in other confectioneries.
Meat industry in Pakistan is developing these days. The export of meat (beef, mutton, and camel) has increased from $ 08.54 million (2010-11) to $123.61 million in 2011-12 showing an increase of 13.9 per cent. We can fulfil the ever increasing meat demand inside the country and can earn a handful foreign exchange by exporting the meat as free of disease. Dairy animals are also used as beef animals. When a dairy animal has spent her productive life and becomes uneconomical for milk production then she is used as a beef animal. Male calves of dairy animals and dairy bulls when no further required for breeding purposes are also utilized for beef purposes.
Fisheries is a sub sector that plays a significant role in the national economy and towards the food security of the country as it relax the existing pressure on mutton, beef and poultry meat. Fisheries share in GDP is 0.3 per cent. Although the contribution is very small, it adds substantially to the national income via export earnings. A total of 84,498 million tons of fish and fish products were exported 2011-12 in Pakistan and major buyers are China, Thailand, Malaysia, Middle East, Sri Lanka, and Japan.