Snags in commercialisation of KP’s Livestock sector

A boy herding sheep in India.

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Snags in commercialisation of livestock sector
By Tahir Ali Khan
July 18, 2011

THE livestock sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, despite having great potential for poverty alleviation, has not developed on commercial lines because of paucity of funds, capacity and technology constraints.

While the share of livestock sector has been increased to Rs0.6 billion or 45 per cent of Rs1.35 billion total provincial agriculture budget, it not enough to care of the development needs of the sector.

The agriculture budget forms only 1.59 per cent of the provincial annual developmental programme whereas the share of livestock sector stands at 0.7 per cent of the total ADP.

The distribution of this tiny budget over numerous projects not only makes their timely completion impossible but also deprives farmers of the fruits of development and research initiatives for years.

For example, for the three ongoing schemes of livestock extension needing Rs380 million, Rs127 million has been allocated and for eight new programmes worth Rs1525million, only Rs246 million has been made available for the year.

The Achai cow conservation and development plan worth Rs222mn, which started in 2009, has been allocated a meagre sum of Rs42 million for the year though it needed Rs141 million.

For another project of livelihood improvement through strengthening of gender-based livestock interventions worth Rs300 million, intended to provide female livestock farmers with training, animal offspring, hens and better communication, only Rs15million has been earmarked for this year.

Development of improved poultry production, processing and marketing models though public-private partnership in KP has been launched with a total outlay of Rs300 million but only Rs25mn has been released.

It is a problem of trying to achieve too many objectives with a too little amount, but officials would not accept it.

A senior official of livestock and dairy development, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, declined to offer his comments saying it was a policy questions beyond his domain.

He, however, said the funds for the ongoing schemes were apportioned as per the demand of the department and that for the new ones the allocation was usually low in the first year of implementation.

The livestock extension has got Rs0.24 billion, livestock research and development Rs0.27 billion and the veterinary research institute Rs0.08 billion.

The important ongoing and new schemes of livestock extension include establishment of dairy colonies in DIK, Peshawar and Mardan; Achai conservation and development programme and establishment and construction of veterinary dispensaries; poverty alleviation through improved rural poultry production in Mardan; gender-based livestock interventions in rural areas; meat and dairy production/development with market linkages and development of improvement of poultry production under public-private partnership.

In the livestock research sub-sector, for four ongoing projects, Rs207 million has been set aside while for five new projects Rs68 million has been earmarked.

Important ongoing and new projects include strengthening and development of poultry sector in Hazara division, barani research institutes for goat and sheep in Kohat, pilot projects for increasing milk and meat and establishment of livestock research centre in Dir, projects for creation of facilities for drugs residue determination, for introduction of modern milking and milk-processing techniques, for reproductive efficiency, for improvement of fodder and forages in southern region and the goat/sheep research centre in Swat.

A sum of Rs70 million will be spent for improving the local goat species through cross-breeding with high-calibre foreign goat species.

For the four ongoing and one new project of veterinary research institute, Rs67 million and Rs16 million has been allocated. The lone new project in this field is that of poultry diseases investigation and vaccine production centre in Peshawar.

Apart from the provincial ADP, the livestock sector in the province has been allocated Rs5.2bn in the federal budget as well. A sum of Rs2.1 billion has been earmarked for upgrading district veterinary clinics, Rs0.8 billion for rural poultry farming, Rs0.5 billion for upgrading the Harichand farm, Rs0.4 billion for livestock extension through female workers, Rs0.25bn for preservation and development of local sheep in Hazara and Malakand, Rs0.5bn for model dairy farms at divisional level, Rs0.8bn for modern slaughter houses and Rs0.5bn for district diagnostic laboratories.

The size of foreign assistance in the new ADP is over Rs16bn but there is no project for the livestock sector. More than 90 per cent livestock is owned by small farmers who need animal progeny and guidance but there is specific project for them.

The government has yet to open model dairy, beef and poultry farms in every district of the province despite making promises to this effect.

Around 15 per cent of the milk produced is wasted during collection process causing a loss of billions of rupees to farmers. But despite this, neither of the public nor the private sectors has made any worthwhile investment for establishing a proper milk collection/preservation system, chilling tanks and milk processing plants.

The provision of cheaper fodder/feed and soft loans to livestock farmers, animal-fattening programmes, range management for communal grazing, small enterprises for compound feed manufacturing, evolution and promotion of high yielding varieties of fodder crops and beef-breed development etc, have been neglected.

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About Tahir Ali Khan
I am an academic, freelance columnist, writer and a social worker.

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