Pakistan’s dairy sector needs latest tech for enhanced output

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s dairy sector needs latest techniques for enhanced output, says a report published by WealthPK on Sunday.

Livestock is a source of income for over 8 million rural families in Pakistan that grew by 4 percent in 2019, contributing 11 percent to the GDP.

Pakistan is the 4th largest producer of milk globally, but it is still behind in modernizing this sector. Compared to the other dairy farming countries such as North America, Turkey, and India, Pakistan’s dairy industry is yet to equip itself with the latest technology.

Much of the dairy sector in Pakistan is informal. Around 80 percent of milk is produced at a small scale in villages, 15 percent in pre-urban and 5 percent in urban areas. Almost all of the rural industry is untaxed. The milk is produced and traded within the country without paying any kind of direct or indirect tax.

A report of the Pakistan Business Council titled ‘’modernizing the dairy sector’’ says development is necessary not just in terms of monetary values, but also to provide well-nourished food to the country’s people.

According to the report, approximately 4 percent of the total milk produced is pasteurized, and another 1 percent is used for other value-added dairy products. Only five percent is processed. Owing to improper storage and handling, there is a loss of around 15 percent of milk produced. The report adds that there is a great opportunity to increase the availability of locally produced dairy products.

Moreover, the report highlights that the milk yield of Pakistan’s local breed is four times lower than that of the high-yielding international breed. Pakistan needs to import high-yielding breeds or genetically improve the local breed through artificial insemination, which is currently not common in the country.
The federal and provincial governments must take combined actions to formulate a long-term policy to implement it consistently. The growth strategies used by Turkey and India can be a good guideline for increasing dairy production.

With a proper policy plan, Pakistan can ensure a massive change in dairy production and its contribution to the GDP. Some key recommendations are summarised below.

Firstly, ease of availability of animal vaccines is a necessary step to ensure sound health of animals. Only a healthy animal can provide a good yield of milk.

Secondly, increasing import duty on milk powder and encouraging the local companies to produce locally used milk in the days of excess milk supply. This move will reduce our import bill and help the local industry.

Lastly, pasteurization infrastructure at the rural level must be established to save milk from wastage. All these measures must be taken to enhance milk production and the dairy industry’s contribution to the agriculture sector.

INP