Cattle Farming

The growing livestock farming

Livestock is the second important sector of agriculture. While the share of agriculture in GDP declined from 26 in 1986-87 to 24 per cent in 2003-04, the share of livestock went up from eight to 11.4 per cent during that period.

In other words, the share of livestock in agriculture increased from 30 to 48 per cent. Its foreign exchange earnings increased to Rs53 billion in 2003-04 which is 12.34 per cent of the total national export earnings as compared to its share of 5.3 per cent in 2001-02. Despite the neglect of livestock sector, its share in GDP and that of agriculture as well as of export earnings increased.

Pakistan is rich in its major livestock wealth as is evident from its population growth as shown in Table 1:

Increase of livestock population between 1960-61 to 2002-03

Livestock      1960-61 2002-03 Increase

                 (million in numbers) 

Baffloes        8.2   24.8  16.6 

Cattle         16.4   23.3   6.9

Goats          10.4   52.8  42.4

Sheep          12.4   24.6  12.2

Camels          0.4    0.8   0.4

Donkeys         1.4    4.0   2.6

Horses          0.3    0.3   0.0

Mules           0.1    0.2   0.1


Total          49.6  130.8  81.2

Source: Economic Survey 2002-03, Statistical Supplement .

It is evident from Table 1 , that there was significant increase in the population of livestock, especially goats, buffaloes, sheep and cattle in the given order. Although, there was increase in the population of camels and bovines, but this increase except that of donkeys was not significant .Because their population was below one million in 1960-61 and it remained below one million even after 43 years in 2002-03.

Similarly the data of live stock products from 1971-72 to 2002-03 is given in Table 2 .

Increase in livestock products

Livestock  1971-72  2002-03  Increase products 

                     (000 tons) 

Milk      7800.0    27611.0   20011.0

Beef       346.0     1060.0     714.0

Mutton     208.0      702.0     494.0


meet        14.0      372.0     358.0

Wool        22.1       39.7      17.6

Hair         2.9       19.9      17.0

Bones      152.0      348.0     196.0

Fat         45.8      129.7      83.9

Blood       14.2       44.0      29.8

             (million numbers)

Egg       583.0      7991.0    7408.0

Hides       4.3         8.2       3.9

Skins      16.4        40.3      23.9

Source: Economic Survey 2002-03. Statistical Supplement

It is evident from Table 2,that there was significant increase in livestock products such as milk ,beef ,mutton poultry meat and eggs etc .But inspite of significant increase in milk production mostly due to increase in the number of buffaloes ,cattle and milk breeds of goats and sheep ,the import of milk and milk bye-products increase from Rs226 million in 1978-79 to Rs770 million in 2002-03.

Again, most of the big cities are facing shortage of meat due to smuggling of animals and meat to Afghanistan and Middle Eastern countries ,besides their export to these countries as well. This has not only caused meat deficiency in the big cities resulting in persistent increase in meat prices. For instance, due to such shortage of meat in Karachi ,animals were smuggled from India in 2002 .The situation was further compounded due to decline in supply of animals from Thar. Such shortage of meat and consequent price hike was also experienced in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad during this period. It has been reported that government is now considering to import animals from India

This shows mismanagement that prevails in the sector as well as in case of crop sector suggesting that both these sectors of agriculture need attention of policy makers on top priority basis for immediate planning on sound economic parameters for attaining self sufficiency.

Presently, livestock is the major economic activity of small and landless farmers ,tenants , sedentary ,nomadic and transhumance herders for their survival The major buffalo breeds are Nili-Ravi and Kundi ,while Sahiwal and Red Sindhi are the dominant milk breeds .Of the draught cattle Bhagnari and Dajal are heavy breeds ,Dhani and Lohani are medium , Rohani and Rojan are light breeds ,while Thari is a dual breed both for milk and draught purposes .

There are around 31 breeds of goats which are raised mainly for milk, meat, skin, hair manure etc. Some of these breeds reared for specific purposes are Betal, Dera Din Panah, Jattan and Kamori mainly for milk, while Chamber, Shurri, Damani, Nachi, Potwari and Khurassani, Sindh Desi, Tapri mainly for milk and meet.

Similarly, Kaghani, Hairy Goat, Lehri, Desi(Jattal) and Burgi mostly for meat and hair, while Kooti, Buchi, Labri, Gaddi, Kajli, Chappar and Tharki mainly for meat, milk and hair. Likewise,Teddy Pateri and Barbari are primarily raised for meat.

In Northern areas due to severe cold weather ,shortage of food ,feed and burning material for warmth and cooking ,the Baltistani ,Jarakhel , Koai Ghizar and Piameri breeds of goats are used for mutton, milk, hair and dung to supplement animal dung for cooking and warming up as well as manure .

Similarly, there are nearly 30 breeds of sheep, out of which 16 are thin-tailed and 14 are fat-tailed sheep. They are raised for different purposes depending upon the breeds such as mutton, wool, milk, fat, manure etc Again, camel is one of the most neglected animal in spite of its great importance in our arid, semi-arid regions, it is a valuable source of milk, meat, skin hair. fuel, bones, ploughing, riding and transportation in these regions where other sources are negligible or not sufficient. And yet, there is not a single camel research institute in the country.

Camel and its by-products have great potential of their export to Middle East ,Africa and other countries. Policy makers and planners of livestock development should seriously consider to establish a national camel research institute in Thal, Cholistan, Thar and Chagai-Kharan based on technical and socio-economic parameters as has been done by India at Bikaner in their Rajisthan desert .

Thus, there is great potential of livestock development. The major problem areas are livestock management, breeding, feeding, health, marketing, besides education and training of livestock holders through effective livestock extension services.

Fortunately, various advanced technologies in these areas are already well established. But the need of the time is to effectively apply them at grass root level. For instance, there is no significant interaction between veterinary extension staff and livestock Thus there is need of strengthening of efficient free veterinary services. Again instead of importing bulls from abroad, the high pedigree bulls of Nili-Ravi, Sahiwal and Red Sindhi breeds should be used for improving buffaloe and cow yields of milk.

Likewise, most of the livestock farmers are not well aware that dry roughages like that of wheat, rice, barley straw, rice husk, stalk of maize, sorghum ,millet,pods and straw of pulses ,oilseed etc could be treated with urea and molasses to increase nutritive value of these roughages. Yields of fodder and its availability for a longer period should also be increased by growing high yielding varieties of fodders and following suitable crop rotations Similarly rain-fed fodder and roughage yields can be significantly increased by following modern rain water harvesting techniques.

The draught cattle should be replaced by high yielding Nili-Ravi buffaloes, Sahiwal and Red Sindhi cows to increase milk yield. Presently dairy farms are mostly in urban areas ,these should also be extended to rural areas as well.

Most of the ruminants, especially the small ones are kept on depleted rangelands.The prevailing sedentary, transhumance and nomadic overgrazing systems are the major cause of depletion of rangelands. Hence rangeland management needs multidisciplinary approach such as classification; determination of carrying capacity of stocking rate; deferred and rotational grazing; reseeding of rangelands; development of drinking water for livestock; Silvi-pastural management; forage conservation during lean periods ;use of urea-molasses models ;removal and burning of undesirable plant species; establishing of demonstration farms; mobile extension units; credit and other similar services.