LAHORE: Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development (PL&DD) Department has met the targets for registration of farmers and buffalo calves to increase beef production, Pakistan Today has learnt.
An official of the department told this scribe that the PL&DD had initiated a project ‘Enhancing Beef Production through Save the Buffalo Calves and Feedlot Fattening’ in November 2019.
The main objectives of the project were saving infant calves to enhance beef production in Punjab and to motivate the livestock farmers for feedlot fattening. The project also plans to improve the capacity of technical staff and farmers regarding the management of beef farming systems.
The official informed that under the said project, the target of the year 2019-20 was to register 40,000 buffalo calves for saving and 30,000 calves for feedlot fattening. The actual results entail that 31,328 farmers registered 40,136 calves for saving, and 9,086 farmers registered 30,401 calves for feedlot fattening.
“In Pakistan, meat is usually obtained from dairy animals or animals used in agriculture. When these animals reach their natural age, they are slaughtered, while the other source of meat is buffalo calves. They [Buffalo Calves] are usually emaciated due to a lack of proper nutrition and care. In Pakistan, millions of calves die or are sold before the age of one year every year because farmers avoid feeding buffaloes to these calves. If these calves are fed and cared for by the buffalo milk for the first three months, not only can they be saved, but the shortage of meat in the country can also be met by making them fat,” he said.
He further said that under the saves the buffalo calves programme, animals of one to 30 days are registered for 120 days and weighed every fortnight. “The animal must gain 300 grams of weight daily. Under this programme, farmers are also given Rs 6,500 per animal as food,” he added.
“Similarly, under the feedlot fattening programme, calves of one to one and a half years of age are registered for 90 days. The weight of each animal is checked after 15 days, while under this program, the animal must gain at least 700 grams of weight daily. Under this program, farmers are given RS 4,000 per animal as food,” the official said.
However, sources in PL&DD said that the cheques from district account offices to the relevant divisional directors of PL&DD are under the process of clearance after they were received. Soon, the amounts to the farmers and PL&DD employees would be disbursed, sources confirmed.
PL&DD Director of Public Relations Dr Asif Rafiq told Pakistan Today that they had done a lot of advertisements for the said project, and the results were great. “In view of the growing population of the country, the maximum increase in milk, egg, and meat production is inevitable. Under this programme, we have entered into agreements with the farmers and issued all the instructions to the farmers regarding proper care of animal feed. Buffalo meat is 32 per cent lower in cholesterol and 55 per cent lower in calories than cow meat, and higher in protein, minerals, and vitamins. Due to these characteristics, the demand for buffalo meat is high in our country,” he said.