Cattle Farming Vital To Alleviate Poverty In Rural Areas

Cattle farming vital to alleviate poverty in rural areas

SARGODHA, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 21st Apr, 2024) Livestock is considered a precious asset not only to run the kitchen smoothly on a daily basis but also help meet expenditures in emergency situations.

About 67 percent of the rural population in the culturally rich region of Sargodha division is directly linked to the livestock sector. The presence of animals is like a cheque which can be encashed at any time.

Livestock has over a 14pc 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 in milk producing country. The production of milk and meat could be enhanced significantly by working on animal genetics. The best semen quality could play a vital role in improving animal health, milk and meat production. Similarly, it could also help generate maximum income for the farmers as well as the country's economy.

At the national level, about 10 million people are rearing cattle. According to the animal census and Economic Survey Report, there are 58.7million big animals in the country. Similarly, the country has 83.3 million small animals (goats). As per the last Economic Survey Report, the production of milk increased from 63,698million tonnes to 69,784 million tonnes.

Apart from this, district Sargodha owned 4,611,324 big animals (buffaloes, cows), 2,882,689 small animals (goats, sheep) and 1,975,816 rural poultry. Besides this, the farmers also rear 919 camels, said sources in the Livestock Department. In rural areas, it is 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 Wajid Ali here on Sunday 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 buffaloes and cows to widows, especially hailing from rural areas. The government had a very unique idea to provide animals to widows whose children were availing school education. The Livestock Department provided a good number of small and big animals to widows after thorough verification from schools concerned.

The widows are now successfully running their kitchen.

Kosar Noureen, a widow and a resident of Shah Nikdur in Sillanwali, who got a big animal in 2020, told APP, "I own one buffalo and one calf and it is a good source of my regular income".

She said that she had also earned Rs180,000 by selling three calves. She expressed pleasure and thanked the government for the provision of the buffalo which helped her overcome economic woes.

Rauf, a resident of Farooqa, said that he was eager to sacrifice an animal on Eid ul Azha. He said that he had purchased a small animal against Rs20,000 and nurtured it for the whole year. He expressed pleasure that he had sacrificed the animal for first time in his life.

Similarly, Nadia Bibi and Rukhsana Bibi, who are widows and farmers, and live in Sobhaga, also shared their success stories and praised the government for creation of economic opportunities on a regular basis for their families.

Naila Bibi, another female farmer from Noorpur, said that she got animals on a sharing basis from an investor a few years ago. Rimsha recalled that she was a poor maid before starting the profession of cattle rearing and now she owned 26 animals.

Muhammad Usman from Eeeni, another cattle farmer, who completed a six-month diploma for cattle farm manager from Sargodha Institute of Cattle Farming , said that he had 16 animals. He said that his son was also a student at the institution. Usman recounted that he used to sell an animal for payment of a semester fee. "Animals are a good asset in an emergency situation. I also managed expenditures on marriages of my two younger brothers by rearing cattle," he added.

Dr Wajid said that the Livestock Department had launched various programmes including calf fattening, save buffalo calf, advisory service, provision of free of cost animals, poultry units at subsidised prices. He stated that production of meat and milk could be enhanced by following certain steps including sileage, promotion of Rhodes grass etc. "High genetics animals should also be promoted. In case, there is no price capping on milk and meat, there can be more growth because people will invest in the sector. Although, there will be competition but it will surely enhance profitability and ultimately lead to immense productivity," he added.

He maintained that the Livestock Department was also vaccinating animals as it had imported vaccinations recently.