June 18, 2013
Pakistan is now the fifth largest milk-producing country in the world, with 35.6 billion litres (natural content) of milk per year, although its yield is well under the yield of 9,000 litres per animal per annum in Europe.
This was mentioned in a report of International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN). Livestock and dairy sector played an important role in the economy of Pakistan. Livestock contributed approximately 52% to agriculture value addition and 11% to GDP during fiscal year 2008-09, the report said.
There are approximately 8.5 million families that produce milk in Pakistan; 80% of which are small landless farmers. The per animal yield is below 2,000 litres per annum compared to 9,000 litres per annum in European countries.
Despite the shortcomings, opportunities lie on the horizon in corporate dairy farming; milk processing and value added dairy and meat products. Corporate sector has taken lead in investing in dairy farming and from 2006 till 2012, more than PKR9 billion (US$95 million) has been invested in the dairy farming sector.
Milk processors, on the other hand, are also planning to invest heavily in this sector. Asia's second largest milk processing factory has been set up in Pakistan by Nestle. Nestle Pakistan aims to invest PKR50 billion (US$507 million) in the country by 2014. Tetra Pak Pakistan invested â‚¬120 million (US$161 million) in a project in Pakistan in 2010.
Meanwhile, Talat Naseer Pasha, Vice Chancellor of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), said that selection of quality animals, genetics improvement for breeding, strong livestock research institutions and milk processing on scientific lines were necessary steps to overcome low milk yield as compared to European countries.
He said local breeds, including Sahiwal, Cholistan and Nili Ravi were much better animals as compared to imported cows and buffaloes as local breeds give milk until eight to nine lactations, while the imported buffalo and cow give milk until two lactations. Therefore, research institutions should adopt latest research and skill focusing on local breeds to raise milk production in the country, he maintained.