New markets for livestock
In financial year 2011, livestock farming in Pakistan accounted for nearly 11.5 percent of the GDP. The sector is a potential goldmine and, if properly developed, can lead to greater increase in GDP share. It is the second most important mode of income for the rural population constituting about 65 percent of the total population.
Pakistan is mostly an agrarian society with livestock farms contributing around 39 percent of the produced value added goods. Pakistan on average has nearly 110,055 million animals that are reared as livestock. The animals comprise cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, camels and chicken.
Exports and byproducts from livestock generate a steady revenue stream for the country. Meat exports alone have shown a 15 percent increase in recent years. Over the years, Pakistan has, in fact, emerged as one of the top meat exporting nations. Countries buying meat from Pakistan include Afghanistan, Kuwait, UAE, Oman and recently Iran has also been added to the list. The introduction of the ‘ Halal’ label in meat exports assists Pakistan in developing a strong market in the Middle Eastern nations and other Muslim majority countries.
While India is also a large exporter of meat, it does not offer beef for export. Pakistan has steadily developed its beef exports which amount to nearly 50 percent of its total meat exports. It is followed by mutton, 23 percent and poultry, 17 percent.
Around eight slaughterhouses are working in Pakistan that supply nearly $ 60 million worth of frozen meat products for export. Pakistan is also in the run for export of live animals for meat to other countries. To further promote the rearing and export of live animals, the government of Pakistan has removed the need for exporters to be issued a permit from the Ministry of Livestock and Dairy Development for commercial exports. As a result, export of meat and meat products showed a net increase from Rs. 7.5 billion to Rs. 11.8 billion last year.
Pakistan is also rated as the world’s fourth largest producer of milk. Cows and buffaloes reared especially for their milk are bred selectively to improve milk quality. The dairy industry produces nearly 34.4 million tonnes of milk. Many private companies have shifted their focus to milk production and have made arrangements with livestock farms for steady supplies. These companies have their own processing plants, where the milk is packaged and used for various dairy products. The first private company to participate in the modernization of dairy farming is Nestle, with many others following suit, the most recent being Engro.
Often these plants are backed by their own livestock farms where they breed animals. The milk is used to produce various dairy products such as cheese, butter, yogurt, powdered milk, ice cream, etc. These products are sold locally and are also exported.
The milk processing plants owned by private companies are increasing their output through the livestock farms and improving the quality of milk and its products.
The country’s livestock population also plays an important role in its economy by producing around 13.0 million hides and 47.4 million skins per year. The skins and hides are of good export quality. The types of sheep skins available in Pakistan are better in respect of grain, substance and compactness of fibre. Recently, China has also expressed immense interest in purchasing leather goods from Pakistan. In May 2011, the volume of leather exports reported an increase of 15.9 percent, reaching a total of nearly $ 1billion. Exports of finished leather are valued at $ 50.1 million whereas leather products like bags, belts, shoes, etc. are valued at almost $ 43.6 million in the international market. The industry is playing a positive role in invigorating the WTO regime with quality and compliance with international standards