Role of Livestock Production in Economy

Livestock, as a sub-sector of agriculture, contributes significantly to the health and economy of rural communities and the nation as a whole. During 199899,livestock sectorcontributed 9 per cent to the GDP and 37 per cent to the agriculture sector. It earned foreign exchange worth of Rs. 14930 million which formed about 5.3 per cent of the overall export earnings of the country. Livestock was also responsible for supplying 16 per cent of total household energy in the form of dung.

In Pakistan, 73.5 per cent of the farms fall in the range of 0 to 5 hectares whereas only 9.1 per cent are over 10 hectares in size. The majority of livestock belongs to landless orsmall farmersand it is kept under extensive farming. The 84 per cent of farmers keep 1 to 6 number of livestock and only 16 per cent possess above 6 number of livestock.

According to 1996 Livestock Census, 99.4 million tonnes of milk was produced per day in Pakistan, out of which the contributions of Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan were 54.6, 32.5, 9.4 and 3.5 per cent respectively. Total animals slaughtered in Pakistan were 16.7 million heads, out of which shares of Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan were 58.7, 20.3, 12.0 and 9.0% respectively. The total production of various livestock products from 1996 to 1999 showed a steady increase, except in poultry. (Table-I).

Our policy makers have always underestimated the exact contribution of livestock to the household and the national economy. Part of the problem is a lack of knowledge about the role of livestock in rural household economy.

In addition to main economic trains mentioned above, livestock also contributes in the production of organic fertilizer and fuel and in the use of marginal nutritional resources which are not directly accessible to mankind. Beside these, the live animal’s traction power is a permanent contribution to small farmers’ economies.

Risk avoidance is other economic role of the livestock which poorly understood and is never economically accounted for. Risks are of climatic and economic nature, such as failure of crops or lower prices in the market. These risks shatter the whole economy of small farmers. One way of limiting the risks is the diversification of family labour and financial resources into crops and animal species.

Hence livestock works as a buffer between the small farmers economy and disaster. Small animals, particularly sheep, goat and poultry and their products (milk, meat and eggs), are consumed by farmers themselves which enrich their regular diets with much needed essential animo acids.

Small ruminants and poultry also provide additional income to rural women folk, which they use of health, education, travel or other emergency needs. Sheep and goats have the capacity to utilise low-quality feeds, such as pasture, crop and industrial by-products which have only few alternative uses and they convert them into high value products.

These higher value products can either be consumed or be exchanged for other foods which provide a cheaper source of energy and protein.

In Pakistan where inflation is high and value of rupee depreciates constantly, the live animal savings represent substantial economic gain. For example, the prices of mutton in 1976, 1986 and 1999 were Rs.13, 30 and 120 respectively, which shows that the price of mutton increased about 10 times in the last 24 years. This may be the one of main reasons that livestock population has been increasing substantially. The higher prices for buffalo milk and goat meat have particularly encouraged the farmers to increase their population (Table-II).

At the national level, in the year 1998-99, livestock contributed 5.27 per cent to the total export earnings of the country. The major exports were leather and leather goods. However, exports have declined compared to previous years (Table-III).

The demand of livestock food products is growing fast because Pakistan’s human population is increasing at the rate of 2.9 per cent annually. If population pressure continues to grow and livestock production stays at the same level, then food deficit may become larger. Even in the present conditions, we are paying Rs.400 million for the purchase of milk powder to meet our summer months’ milk demand.

According to one recent survey, in the year 2003, milk, red meat and poultry meat deficit will be 9.72, 0.17 and 0.14 million tonnes if our livestock production stays at the same level.

The livestock sector has faced not only neglect and a lack of interest, but also an outright bias from our national and provincial policy makers and politicians. This situation is reflected in the very limited number of programmes or projects promoting livestock development.

The challenge that lies ahead is how to reverse this situation. It requires very clearly defined strategy to strengthen the small livestock farmers and household livestock production systems which undoubtedly bring economic and social improvement at the family, village, provincial and national levels.

Production of Livestock Products During 1996-97 to 1998-99



Livestock Products 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 (%age)

Milk [*]            23.580  24.215  24.876   3.00

Beef [*]             0.919   0.940   0.963   0.24

Mutton [*]           0.602   0.617   0.633   0.26

Poultry [*]          0.387   0.284   0.297  -0.45

Eggs [**]             6015    5737    5938  -0.35

Hides [**]             7.1     7.3     7.5   0.27

Skin [**]             34.5    35.3    36.3   0.30

Wool [**]           0.0383  0.0385  0.0387   0.05

Bones [*]            0.302   0.309   0.316   0.22

(*.)Million tonnes

(**.)Million Nos.

Source: MINFA 1999

Livestock Population of Ruminants

in 1976, 1986 and 1996

(in millions)


Specie    1976 1986 1996

Cattle    14.6 17.5 20.4

Buffaloes 10.6 15.7 20.3

Sheep     18.6 23.3 23.5

Goats     21.1 29.9 41.2

Source: National Livestock Censuses 1976, 1986 and 1996

Main Exports of Livestock

Products and Their Value

(Rs. in millions)

Export  Export

Products         1996-97 1998-99

Leather Products    9322    6346

Footwear            2014    1317

Raw Wool             528     108

Rugs and Carpets    7820    6723

Animal Casings       594     436

Hides and Skins        4      —

TOTAL:             20282   14930

Source:Economic Survey 1998-99


Key Reference : COPYRIGHT 2000 Economic and Industrial Publications

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

Bibliography for: “Role of Livestock Production in Economy” By Dr. Aslam Pervez Umrani

Muhammad Ramzan Rafique
Muhammad Ramzan Rafique

I am from a small town Chichawatni, Sahiwal, Punjab , Pakistan, studied from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, on my mission to explore world I am in Denmark these days..

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