By Muhammad Aatif Ismail
MULTAN, May 22 (APP):Cattle farming possess a center point in any country’s economy especially the agriculture based nations to meet most of kitchen items need and help farmers earn living for their families.
Since most of dairy items and meat products come from this sector respective governments lay maximum stress on progress of this sector to meet everyday increasing demand of these items.
Many developed countries have introduced modern techniques to enhance produce of dairy and meat items for meeting domestic needs and export to other countries for earning foreign exchange.
Being an agriculture country, Pakistan also has vast potential in this sector and if properly focused, can help farmers to reap maximum benefits and make the country earn foreign exchange.
South Punjab can be an area of special focus as 70 percent rural population in the region is directly linked to livestock sector with many having it as sole source of earning to meet their daily needs.
“It is an important sector and need proper attention to increase milk and meat produce for domestic use and export to other countries,” remarked Deputy Director Livestock Dr Jamshaid Akhtar.
“The production of milk and meat could be enhanced significantly by working on animals’ genetics,” Dr Jamshaid said. “The best semen quality could play vital role in improving animals’ health, milk and meat production.” He mentioned to different programs of Livestock department including calf fattening, save buffalo calf, advisory service, provision of free of cost animals, poultry units on subsidize prices. “Our rural areas have ideal environment for cattle rearing and mechanized patronage of this sector and value addition to raw products can generate astonishing results in terms of capital earning,” he said.
He also mentioned to women role in cattle rearing and said, rural women play vital role in this sector by lending hand of their male family members.
Its importance can gauged from the fact that it constitutes over 11.5 percent share in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Therefore, this sector also has immense potential to alleviate poverty in rural areas and contribute much more to our GDP.
Statistics show that Pakistan is ranked fifth milk producing country and millions of its citizens are associated to this sector.
“Livestock can also be much more beneficial to alleviate poverty in backward areas,” Dr Jamshaid Akhtar said and mentioned to a special initiative by the previous PML-N government wherein buffaloes and cows were provided to widow women, especially in rural areas.
“The then government had a very unique idea to provide animals to those widows whose children were school going,” he said.
The Livestock Department had disbursed 1100 small and 820 big animals to the widows after thorough verification from schools concerned and a good number of these women are now successfully running their kitchen.
“I own one buffalo and one calf and it is good source of regular income,” said Parveen Bibi wife of late Muhammad Bilal, a resident of Jalalpur Pirwala, Multan.
“I was provided one big animal in 2017. During this period I not only sold milk on daily basis but also earned Rs 91,000 by selling two buffalo calves,” she said. “I am happy and thank the then government for enabling me to earn living and overcome my financial problems.”
According to Livestock Department, Multan district owns 3,611,964 big animals (Buffalo, Cow), 2,292,687 small animals (goats,sheep) and 1,525,416 rural poultry. Besides this, the farmers also rear 714 camels. Meanwhile, two other widow farmers Aseya Bibi and Amna Bibi have also appreciated the PML-N government to donating them cattle and helped earn living for their families.
Another cattle farmer from South Punjab, Yaqub Khizar said rearing of animals had brought about visible improvement changes in his earning. “I was a daily wager in Multan and used to drive Rickshaw but could not manage routine expenditures.”
“Fed up from that business, I sold out Rickshaw and purchased six animals. Just in some years of time, now I own animals costing over Rs one million. I have constructed my own house and live happily with my family.”
Razziah Bibi, another female farmer informed that she rear animals on sharing basis. “I was a poor maid engaged in domestic labor couple of years back. Then I opted for cattle rearing and today I own 15 animals worth hundreds of thousands rupees and can easily get my children educated.”
There are number of other success stories wherein cattle farming not only addressed the financial woes of the people but also paved way for respectable living.
“Besides, meeting routine daily expenses, these animals also prove to be cheques whenever hard cash is needed,” said Yousuf Khan, another cattle farmer.
“Animals are good asset in emergency situation. Whenever you need hard cash, you can sell the one in no time. I managed expenditures on marriages of my two younger brothers by rearing cattle,” he remarked.
Agriculturists believe that cattle farming has vast potential to grow and if proper heed is paid, it may contribute enormously to national economy as a whole and alleviate poverty at household level.