Category Archives: Farmers

Camel Manure Compost Trial in Alain, UAE

The camel manure collected from the milking parlor. The manure is slightly moist and best suited for compost. The manure from the milking parlor has the lesser quantity of the sand.

Camel manure is a treasure in reality but going waste, it is very unfortunate. In an article, I explained the whole story of the camel manure in the world, especially UAE. https://camel4all.blog/2016/02/02/camels-dungzfrom-waste-to-a-worthwhile-farming-agent/

Today (10/1/2019), I started a trial of the camel manure compost. I shall wait for 4 months and will open after that period. Then, we shall see the physical appearance, smell, texture etc.

The manure needs to be covered properly so that the air is out and we get a compost without smell.
I made a ditch in the desert, spread plastic sheet, put manure on it and covered it. Later on covered with sand to remove the air and press it tightly.
We dumped the manure with the sand. Now waiting for 4 months. The 2 blocks on both borders will indicate us the area where it was dumped.

I’m not an expert in this area, please always support me with your suggestions and comments. After we have successful compost, we shall make lab analysis.

Farmers Hardship Under the Establishment’s Eyes

This year (2017), we noticed a stinging acceleration in the prices of certain agricultural commodities like Onion (from the June until now) and tomato (September to date) in Pakistan. During the same period, such products remained at the lowest prices in India. The higher prices of these commodities in Pakistan were because of the closure of the Durand Line, the weathering extremities, and the higher demand for those items.

Who Suffer

The Farmer in India & Afghanistan and the consumer in Pakistan

One can see interesting but annoying pictures throughout in the region on the internet. In India, the farmer throwing the tomato and onion on the roads as a show of anger, while the people in Pakistan are struggling to manage tomato and onion for family use.

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Onioned was thrown and crushed in India for their low prices

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The tomato crisis in Pakistan

Interestingly, when the prices of tomato were low in Pakistan, that time the prices were high in India and the same was for the onion. I just gave the example of 2 products otherwise there are many examples.

The Root Cause of the Problem

The farmers are not the part of the policy-making process. They are out of the decision making forums. The policies are driven by the people whom interest lies in the wars and conflicts. On both sides of the border, the policy-making is in the hand of powerful establishments to keep the tension alive and strengthen their vested interests.

For the establishment, the troubled relationship is a better source of income but the masses suffer. As a personal experience, I the establishment wants to weaken the farmers to grab their land and other resources. Usually, such people when retired from their jobs, start the business of the real estate and buy the lands from the farmer and change into the concrete jungle.

The Solution, if any?

A strong and influential voice of the farmers on the both side can mak the change.

 

National Goat Show in Pakistan, The Story of Makhi Cheni Betal Breed

Organized and reported by Dr. Sajjad Khan

Dr. Sajjad Khan is a well-known scientist and currently working as Prf. and Dean faculty of Animal Husbandry, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad Pakistan.

National goat show concluded here at Faisalabad (Pakistan) last evening on 21st October. It was very well attended the show as 663 animals competed for various beauty, weight and milk competitions. Beauty competitions were breed wise. Individual (male or female), pairs (breeding male and a breeding female) and flock (five adult females + 1 breeding male) competitions were held apart from goat kid beauty competition which was across breeds.

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Makhi Cheeni Beetal (MCB) breed from Bahawalnagar

Represented breeds were various strains of Beetal (Faisalabadi, Makhi-Cheeni, Nuqri and Nagri strains), Nachi-the dancing goat (Boora, Sawa, Makra and Bulahi strains) and Diara Din Panah (Kala and Shera strains). Single strains of Barbari, Pak-Angora, and Teddy breeds also competed. While beauty competitions were within, weight and milk competitions were across breeds. Breeders and goat keepers competed for cash prizes, trophies and certificates and just for fun. The show was supported by my University, GEF-UNEP-ILRI FAnGR Asia project and the Directorate of Small Ruminants, Government of Punjab.

Animals started arriving on 18th and 90% had reached by 19th. Animals from the host district arrived on 20thmorning as well. As some had taken a 10-hours journey, rest was needed especially for milking goats. Competitions continued till late into the evening on 20th. The goat kid competition, held for the first time (to promote goat as a pet) was conducted on 21st, the day for prizes and trophies. Some 50 goat kids competed and were paraded (actually allowed to move around for about a minute) before young boys and girls (between 5-8 years of age) who were our no-card guests/visitors and had even helped farmers in handling goats during flock competitions.

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Mature Buck of Makhi Cheeni Beetal

Some 50 were randomly selected from about 90+ boys and girls present. We had 50 red ribbons to be worn to the goat kids. Every kid was individually explained to not follow his/her friends or parents (some had come) for making his/her choice, rather his/her own likeness. While farmers kept sitting with their goat kids, judges (boys and girls) marched in front from one side to the other and selected their champion. Some had done it while animal science students (girls) were tagging the goat kids in the start, while others did it on the spot. Nuqri goat kid won the first position with 7 ribbons followed by Makhi-Cheeni and Barbari goat kids. It is worth mentioning that many goat kids were purchased by the local residents’ price ranging between 80 and 400 USD/animal at the end of the goat show.

 

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MCB lactating doe can produce up to 10 kg milk per day

 

 

Highest weight was 179kg of a Beetal  (Faisalabadi) buck while highest milk yield was of a Beetal Makhi-Cheeni goat producing 4 liters of milk on a voluntary intake as owners were not allowed to offer anything and competing goats remained in the custody of organizing committee before the beginning of emptying of udders till the last milking. Similar restrictions were imposed in weight competition. This was not a kidding season for goats because in our March competition last year, amount of milk by the winning goat was around 8 liters.

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The most deficient information seemed to be scoring the dancing gait of Nachi goats while a lot of indigenous knowledge (apart from the typical nose and longer neck, foot sole was desirable to be visible while animal walks, as narrated by a Nachi farmer) awaits documentation. Love for this breed could be judged talking to a 70-year-old farmer who had raised this breed since he was 10. I hope to learn from him and similarly knowledgeable farmers in future.

 

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Deep colored spotted MCB breed pregnant yearling

 

The show was telecasted live by at least five television channels. Introduction of Nagri strain of Beetal was the pleasant surprise for technocrats and so was the introduction of a colored strain of Diara Din Panah (Shera strain) which was even more attractive than the traditional black strain. Bucks with their cock screw longhorns, massive bodies (~100kg) and long hair really gave a dangerous look (as a friend called them terrorists). New strains of Nachi were also worth watching.  It looks we need to redefine breeds to incorporate farmers standards and available. Information available in booklets on various breeds looks quite distant from reality.

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Best animal of the show was a DDP buck (black strain). The best breeder was Mr. Nazir Masih with exceptionally good animals (1st in milk competition, 1st in flock beauty competition for MCB breed and 1st in individual female beauty competition in MCB breed).

 

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8 Month old MCB female

 

As always it was a very pleasant and rewarding to organize and conduct a goat show. Interaction and exchange of ideas with farmers is an asset. Few photos are attached. More photos with video clips will soon be posted at project website  (http://fangrpk.org/).

Dr. M. Sajjad Khan

Professor

Dept. Animal Breeding and Genetics

University of Agriculture Faisalabad 38040

PAKISTAN

Mangeli Sheep of the Central Balochistan

Habitat: The major habitat of the breed is the central Brahvi land. The nucleus areas are Kalat, Mastun, Khuzdar, Wadh and Awaran. The tribe of the breed is Maingul.

Phenotypic characteristics: The sheep is medium in size with coarse wool, black and white body coat. The head of the sheep is usually black. The ears are long and droopy.

Vegetation: Vegetation of the habitat much like by Mangeli sheep is comprised of Saba, Sargharri, Hawe, Gorkha and Kashum.

Population: The population of the breed is a bit hard to compile because of the scattered nature of the breed in a wide area. Moreover the estimation on the basis of the breeders and flock size the estimated population of the breed 1 Million. This breed shrink in size because of two reasons, the First reason of the shrinking was the drought (red spot of the climate change); this breed was severely affected like Dumeri sheep. The second reason is the high financial return of orchard farming of apple and Cherry in the region. Because of the drought and other social changes, many breeders shifted towards orchard farming. Though the number of the breeders decreased the breed is again increasing in size due to high consumer demand for its products.

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The tribe love their sheep genetic resources

 

Special traits:

  • Good thriftiness nature, high compensatory growth
  • v  Good ability to graze in the small area
  • v  Good scavenger animal, also fit for grazing on the waste of the city
  • v  High milk producer under the low input production system.
  • v  High meat yield and a reasonable growth rate

Option hopes:

  • Capable of grazing of the highlands of the region (highly adapted to the landscape)
  • Strong link to the sheep culture with Maingul tribe
  • Precious part of the Balochi culture
  • High consumer demand for the special flavor of the milk

Economic importance: The breed is highly thrifty and produces more meat per unit feed consumption compare to other breeds of the region.  The male animal at the age of 2-3 years is used for Landi purpose Persenda~Dry Meat Cousine of Pashtun Afghan and catches very good prices. Mangeli is one of the best milk producers in the province or may be in the region. The lambs of the breed can be used for feedlot system to produce more and healthy meat. The male at the age of 3 years attains a weight of 80 kg. The lambs are usually slaughtered at the age of 3 years for Landi purpose. The breed is an important source of livelihood earning and the prices are very high for Mangeli sheep in the province. The rate of a Mangeli ewe is almost Rs. 12,000 and that of a male with 3 years of age ranges to a price of Rs. 20,000.

Musakhaili Sheep Breed

Habitat: Found in Musakhail district of northeastern Balochistan and the main tribe of the breed is Musakhail as indicated by the name. Moreover, the breed is also raised by Marghzani, Zamri and Issot and Jaffar tribes of Musakhail district.

Phenotypic characteristics: The breed is larger in size compared to Bybrik sheep breed. The tail is wide and a bit long (called as hanging tail), therefore, accumulate more fats. The head of the sheep is larger and wider. The wool is shorter in length like that of Bybrik. This breed is more attractive for the trader because of its meat demand.

The distinctive characteristics of the breed are long hair in the base of the horn. Spotted ears, black spots on wool and skin on the rump area, are the prominent feature of the breed.

Vegetation: Vegetation highly like by Musakhaili sheep is comprised of Khuriasa, Ozi, Viza, Paha, Saba, Zangi, Barawa and Barvaza etc. The vegetation is different in different season and topography.

Population: The population size of the breed is almost 2.9 million and the trend is increasing.dsc00154

Special Traits:

  • Can climb on high mountains and consume the inaccessible vegetation
  • Get more weight in short duration and fill the tail with fats very fastly, hence can resist the dry period
  • Good response to stall feeding and grains offer
  • The wool is thin in density (Khalaswargi) and is good to resist high temperature
  • Consume bushy vegetation when there is scarcity of grasses

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    The meat drying process (landi) 

Economic Importance: The breed is not only raise for family subsistence. The breed has very high economic returns by selling male animals at the age of 8 months. The animal has high trader preference and mostly reaches to the market of Iran and even Middle East. The local consumers like the meat and use this breed for the persenda making (Landi)Persenda~Dry Meat Cousine of Pashtun Afghan, The crop reaches early in the market because of the early breeding season. The milk of the breed is not use for family needs but allow to the lambs. The wool has no higher economic importance and is mainly send to the market of Punjab province and is usually use in the carpet industry.

Occupy Gene Banks and Ensure Livelihood and Biodiversity

The state of the world is very critical and the time is reached to stand and ask for change. Millions of dollars are spending on wars and much more goes in the oven of bankruptcy. Industrialization/privatization is the third sword hanging on the head of humanity. This entire situation created an evil triangle which resulted in poverty, malnutrition, hunger, jobs losses, wars, and many other consequences. This evil triangle is now going a step forward for future food control. To do this, a complex state of the situation is created in the form of stealing genes (biopiracy), patents for genes, so-called gene banks, GMO, BT, and promotion & backing for the promotion of industrialized breeds.6a0120a7fc3be9970b01a511a24eb7970c

The situation is even more than nastiest. Local verities of seed, capable of combating climate change and resist droughts are pushed towards extinct with the evil mind of money hungry industrialized seed multinational companies. BT cotton is causing havoc losses to local biodiversity and now the weed control is near to impossible. Such act as backing and promotion of exotic verities pushed smallholders at stake and hunger increased manifold beside the so-called green revolution. Ban Genetically Modified FoodThe green revolution no doubt increased food production but at the cost of human health, environment, and biodiversity. Blind use of fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, antibiotics, artificial colors and synthetic hormones created a situation of complex human health and many more new diseases introduced. Actually, green revolution was meant to destroy the resilience of local communities to climate change and drought which ultimately depend on the multinationals. Added benefits of reducing meat and dairy consumptionThis phenomenon resulted in giving food control in the hand of multinational.

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If we talk about livestock biodiversity, the situation is very fragile and millions of smallholders are deprived of their precious indigenous livestock breeds and pushed in the hell of poverty and hunger. Millions of small livestock keepers, especially pastoralists in the South (underdeveloped part of the world, especially dry lands) depend on indigenous livestock breeds for their survival. People and Animal Agriculture~The Philosophy of the Low Carbon Livestock

Also, these small farmers and pastoralists are the custodian of precious livestock biodiversity in their habitats and ecosystems. Their livestock breeds depend on very marginal lands for grazing which has no other use. Livestock production systems of such farmers need very low or even zero inputs, therefore, their share in climate change is very limited. The keepers of the breeds continuously evolve their breeds with the help of their indigenous knowledge in tune with environmental changes and consumer demands. My Philosophy of Sustainability — Camel, food security and climate change

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The Southern hemisphere of the planet earth is the cradle of animal domestication and almost all the livestock species for food and agriculture traveled from South to North. During the last 100 years, gene flows from South to North have been dwarfed by flows in the opposite direction, from North to South. Large numbers of animals, semen, embryos, and eggs are shipped to developing countries, and Northern breeds (particularly of pigs, poultry, and dairy cattle) have become firmly established in various countries. This development led to the erosion of livestock biodiversity in the South.Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Full text | Ethnoveterinary treatments by dromedary camel herders in the Suleiman Mountainous Region in Pakistan: an observation and questionnaire study

The influx of high performing genotypes into existing breeds has always been an important component in developing and improving breeds. In the history of all species investigated, gene flow has contributed significantly to diversity. In population genetics, migration is an important source of genetic variability. But the international exchange of genetic material (North to South) from a decreasing number of sires (bulls) increasingly loses genetic variation with global impacts for developed and developing countries.FAO Press releases on AnGR

This flow of gene (breeds) is very unnatural and has environmental consequences. Such breeds need very high inputs of energy in the form of acclimatizing housing and feeding high energy and protein levels. Also, according to a study, naturally the flora and fauna species travel from south to north to cope with the climate change. In this context, this is an opportunity for southern breeds to flow towards the north and that is very natural. Hence supporting gene flow from north to south is very stupid and wasting the money of the western taxpayer in the form of subsidies to the breeders of the North.9bbc88561fc80ec31840891c58fc22e9

The northern governments subsidize livestock exports by their banking system, while the South has furthered the import of exotic genetic materials, for example by offering livestock keepers credit, services, and subsidized feed. Southern governments tend to favor livestock industrialization at the expense of smallholder producers. International agreements regulating agricultural trade are likely to enhance the intensification of livestock production and increase gene flows to the South.

North breeds not only alter the breed diversity of the South but promotes a new culture of agricultural intensification and industrialization, leads to benefit the industries of developed countries. Such system is always dependent on foreign aids. The cash amount of aid usually goes into the pocket of corrupt officials and politicians and again transfers to the western banks. This is an evil cycle of money to exploit the small stockers of the south and narrow the diversity of the breeds.Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

Failure of this system

  • Breeds are neither suited for the new environment nor fits with the goals and strategies of the producers.
  • Northern breeds are already very narrow within-breed diversity and very prone to the pest and diseases of the new environment.
  • Such production systems need institutional and technical support to its producers which the developing countries seldom provide.
  • Breeding decisions are increasingly taken out of the hands of farmers and herders. While relatively few Southern breeds have so far disappeared.
  • They have been selected for high yields and require standardized conditions and high inputs to exploit their genetic potential.
  • Exotic livestock breeds, especially poultry, and pig are in competition with the human population for food resources as they depend on the grains.
  • According to data collected by the FAO, 18 % of the 740 farm animal breeds that were recorded as extinct were bred from the South
  • However, among the breeds at risk, including the status endangered and critical, 60% are from the South and this proportion is expected to increase.
  • However, if the risk factors “change of husbandry”, “expansion of large-scale intensive livestock production” or “people giving up herding or farming” are taken into account, then the South could become the hotspot of breed loss of the 21st century.
  • Southern governments need to recognize their contribution to breed development and secure their access to grazing and water, services and education.

In short, the time is reached to raise voice against the gene piracy and future food control. The planet is mother earth for all. Let stop playing with nature to earn money and fattening banks. Let raise our voice against manipulating genetic makeup of flora and fauna. Gene patient is one the dangerous weapon to control the state of future food. Gene is the creature of nature and our mother earth. No way to the patent gene.

Right, the based approach is the best tool in the present political situation of the world. Every individual and living organism have the right to survival. Let’s stop depriving small-scale farmers of their right. Let them survive and keep their system continue to produce healthy and natural food.

LIFE Network has introduced the livestock keeper’s rights. Join our hands and support the rights of livestock keepers. Here is the link to details of the livestock keeper’s rights.

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/Declaration_on_LKRs_with_initial%20signatories_6.pdf