US helping improve dairy production
ISLAMABAD: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is coordinating with Pakistan to improve dairy production and resolve multiple issues in the farming sector.
According to reports, these projects mainly focus on implementing progressive control strategies for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and to enhance dairy productivity. The sources said that Pakistan’s dairy industry is on the cusp of transformation after significant investment by the government of Pakistan, donors and private industry during the last decade. Modern and commercial dairies are beginning to enter the market and high-yield livestock management practices are becoming commercially viable.
However, commercial dairies are not seeing the production levels possible with foreign breeds and significant work needs to be done on improving management practices and animal health, they added. With improved techniques and genetics, he hoped that farms could see their milk production double, even triple, which would not only increase farmer income, but also the quality and quantity of milk on the domestic market. To leverage these opportunities and assist the dairy sector’s transformation, USDA and USAID are partnering with the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), the largest livestock educational institute in Pakistan and one of the oldest veterinarian institutions in Asia, to establish the Pattoki Training and Research Demonstration Farm, a model dairy farm for high-producing breeds in Pattoki.
The demonstration farm will house approximately 50 imported Holstein heifers from the United States, which are expected to arrive in the fall when cooler weather prevails. UVAS has already constructed a milking parlour, calving and maternity pens, free stalls and the majority of the infrastructure requirements for the farm. They hoped that UVAS model dairy farm will become a focal point in Pakistan for students to learn about the benefits and management of high-producing dairy breeds.
Most importantly, the farm will provide educational programs and hands-on learning experiences for dairy farmers and federal and provincial government extension agents to keep high-producing cattle breeds healthy and productive in Pakistan. In addition, the demonstration farm is expected to become financially self-sustainable through the production and sale of valuable farm outputs including milk and breeding stock. While much work remains, the Pattoki Training and Research Demonstration Farm will also provide a public resource to advance the dairy production revolution in Pakistan.