KARACHI: Scientists should focus their attention to extend local research for producing indigenous vaccines for animal disease control to reduce economic losses to poor farmers on costly imported material.
Still Pakistan has no any quality vaccine preparing unit in the country and country needs assistance for escalating livestock and fisheries production in the Sindh and Punjab provinces.
A senior member of Animal Sciences Division, PARC said infectious diseases of livestock, fisheries and poultry continue to be a serious challenge to food animal production all over the world.
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to control many bacterial as well as viral animal diseases.
More than 60 percent health-related loss in livestock is caused by infectious diseases, which could be eliminated.
Reduction in such diseases would increase livestock productivity and animal origin products.
There was a need to improve the existing vaccine producing units engaged in public sector organisations.
Livestock and Dairy Development Board had undertaken a project under Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme (ASLP) with the support of Australian Centre for international Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Charles Stuart University, but the progression on the project and its fate is still bleak as no any interest has been shown.
Under this programme, Richard Bevan, an expert in vaccine production had been invited by Pakistan from Australia. He visited VRI's and conducted a review of a few vaccine production and research related institutes in the Punjab and Sindh.
The difficulties faced by the provincial VRI's in the absence of regulatory/registration authority, most of the indigenously produced vaccines need to be improved as they do not meet the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements.
Public sector vaccine producing units can play role for production of quality vaccine in order to bring major improvement in livestock production.
Pakistan Agricultural Research Council emphasized the need for establishment of central vaccine quality control laboratory to monitor the quality of both local and imported vaccines.
A member of Livestock and Dairy Development Board said in dairy sector, emphasis would be on small farmers, collecting data and pinpointing the areas where technical intervention has to be made.
Livestock is the most important sub-sector of agriculture with national GDP contribution of 11.4 percent and 49.8 percent to the agriculture value added. Livestock also contributes significantly towards national exports and 9 percent to 9.7 percent of total exports belong to this sector.
The national herd consists of 34 million cattle, 29.6 million buffaloes, 27.9 million sheep, 66 million goats and 0.9 million camel. In addition to these there is a vibrant poultry sector in the country with more than 730 million birds produced annually. These animals produce 52.572 million tonnes of milk, making Pakistan 4th largest producer of milk in the world, more than 2 million tons of beef, 0.960 million tonnes of mutton, 0.716 million tonens of poultry meat, 9.728 billion eggs, 47.2 thousand tonnes of wool, 24.5 thousand tonnes of hair and 81.2 million skins and hides.
Buffaloes are main dairy animal and are mainly raised in Punjab (63.6 percent) and Sindh (34.8 percent). Buffaloes are now making inroads in other provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and even Northern Areas. Cattle have traditionally been raised for draught and are distributed in approximately according to areas in different provinces except Balochistan where only 7 percent cattle are present. Balochistan harbours majority of sheep as this province alone has 47.5 percent of the sheep population of the country.