MULTAN: Livestock is considered as precious asset not only to run kitchen smoothly on daily basis but also help meet expenditures in any emergency situations.
About 70 percent of the rural population in the culturally rich region of south Punjab is directly linked to the livestock sector. The presence of animals is tantamount to cheque which could be cashed at any time.
Livestock had over 14 percent share in gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. It has immense potential not to alleviate poverty in rural areas but can also revolutionize the living standards of the people.
Pakistan is ranked fifth milk producing country. The production of milk and meat could be enhanced significantly by working on animals’ genetics. The best semen quality could play a vital role in improving animals’ health, milk and meat production. Similarly, it could also help generate maximum income for the farmers as well as the country’s economy.
At national level, about eight million people are rearing cattle. According to the animal census and Economic Survey Report, there are 53.4 million big animals in the country. Similarly, the country has 80.3 million small animals (goats). As per the last Economic Survey Report, the production of milk increased from 61,690 million tonnes to 63,684 million tonnes.
Apart from this, district Multan owned 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, informed sources in the Livestock Department.
In rural areas, it is very easy to rear animals because of the cultural environment, easy access to infrastructure and nutrition. In rural communities, the role of women farmers in cattle rearing is highly important. Without women farmers’ participation, the livestock sector could not be managed properly, said Deputy Director Livestock Dr Jamshaid Akhtar while talking to APP.
He said that livestock was performing an important role in poverty alleviation in rural areas. He recalled that the government had launched a special initiative to provide buffalo and cow to widow women, especially hailing from rural areas. The government had a very unique idea to provide animals to those widows whose children were availing school education. The Livestock Department provided a good number of small and big animals to the widows after thorough verification from schools concerned. The widow women are now successfully running their kitchen.
Parveen Bibi, wife of late Muhammad Bilal and resident of Mauza Sabra in Jalalpur Pirwala, who got one big animal in 2017, told APP, “I own one buffalo and one calf and it is a good source of regular income”. She said that she had also earned Rs 150,000 by selling another three calves of the Buffalo. She expressed pleasure and thanked the government for the provision of buffalo which helped her to overcome economic woes.
Majahid, another poor citizen, and resident of Chowk Shah Abbas informed that he was very much eager to sacrifice animals on occasion of Eid ul Azha. He informed that he purchased a small animal against Rs 6000 and nurtured it for the whole year. He expressed pleasure and shared that he sacrificed the animal for first time in his life.
Similarly, another two widow women farmers Aseya Bibi and Amna Bibi, residents of Jalalpur Pirwala also shared their success stories and praised the government for creation of economic opportunities on a regular basis for their families.
Razziah Bibi, another female farmer from Rangshah area, informed that she got animals on a sharing basis from an investor, a few years ago. Razziah recalled that she was a poor maid before starting the profession of cattle rearing. She stated that she owned 20 animals.
Muhammad Yousuf Khan, another cattle farmer, who also completed six months diploma for Cattle Farm Manager from Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUAM), informed that he had 16 animals. Yousuf informed that his son was also a student at Agriculture University Faisalabad. Yousuf remarked that he used to sell one animal for payment of semester fee. Animals are a good asset in an emergency situation, he hinted. I also managed expenditures on marriages of my two younger brothers by rearing cattle, he remarked.
Dr Jamshaid Akhtar also observed that Livestock department launched various programmes including calf fattening, save buffalo calf, advisory service, provision of free of cost animals, poultry units on subsidised prices.