Category Archives: Rural development

Urban..The unique Biological Machine for Work (BMW), highly adapted, the specialized creature is still hiding from the policy makers and highly neglected at all levels. This unique creature is still playing the same role since ages Reminding the Role of Poor Creature~The DonkeyDsc01680

The donkey is not only a working equid but equally play a pivotal role in religious rituals, recreations in some cultures and part & parcel of different heritages. Unfortunately, the donkey kingdom is facing panic problems, ranging from the ill treatment, poor welfare to sick behavior of some societies towards the donkey. donkey products

Celebrating the world donkey day is to aware the masses about the importance of the donkey on one hand and to realize its importance in the agricultural/ urban economies of the world on the other hand. World Donkey Day 8th May

Donkey is now introduced in many EU countries as ecosystem service to help in the flora biodiversity in the forest. World Donkey Day (May 8). In Germany, grazing with livestock is the most commonly used strategy for maintaining the landscape and for conserving rare plants, as well as certain bird species on the Red List.

The donkey is making its place in the changing world and finding option hopes to be used for other purposes as well. Unluckily, the trend of exporting to China for skin trade is the most debatable and questionable. Yes, we must use the animal and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture but it must be based on sustainability, respect, and benefit sharing. I fear that these working animals if used for skin and meat trade, will have a very negative effect on the rural economy in Asia and AfricaThe Blind Export of Precious Donkey will lead to Extinction of this Genetic Resourcedonkey is the most useful and strong

As a conclusion, I would suggest to chalk out a policy to regularize the utilization, welfare, & trade related issues and to share the benefits coming from this trade with the custodian of the donkey genetic resources.Animal genetic resources and “Access and Benefit-Sharing”: not made for each other?

For Further reading, please go to the links below;

Donkeys and development: socio-economic aspects of donkey use in Africa

Benefits of donkeys in rural and urban areas in northwest Nigeria

The Welfare of Donkeys

DONKEY BREEDS OF NORTH-EASTERN BALOCHISTAN, PAKHTOONKHUA, AND SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN

List of donkey breeds

Donkey! Shingharri Breed

Camel Manure~Some Feedback from the Different Quarters of the World

Here, I just copy and paste the response regarding the article Camels’ Manure~From Waste to a Worthwhile Farming Agent in the ensuing lines. These responses were received through my email.

Response from Mongolia, 
We are interested in your entitled “Looking for ways to turn camel manure into a worthwhile asset”. In Mongolia rearing population nucleus of Bactrian camel’s (two-humped) in the World. So the camels producing thousands of tons of camel manure annually too. However, camels producing moisture and liquid manure in spring and summer at reverse, stiff and globular shaped in autumn and winter seasons. The dried camel manure is used to fuel traditionally in Mongolia because 100 kg dried globular shaped camel manure is equaled by the capacity of heat with 82 kg weather-beaten zag (Haloxylon bungee-it is a very important plant species which is fed by camels) and 129 kg horse manure.  It can’t make organic fertilizer/compost, but this may be the source of electricity and will come into use the soil fertility of its ash.
We’d like to collaborate with your Camel4Life foundation.
Baldan Tuntegiin
Camel consultant researcher in Mongolia
Image result for bactrian camels manure Mongolia

Response From Women University of Africa

The other environmentally friendly option would be biogas production, this has twin benefits of green renewable energy production and value addition of farm waste. At a farm you can become self-sufficient on energy, creating a closed system with minimum environmental impacts, going towards climate change mitigation.

 

Gospell Matondi, Lecturer & Researcher, Women’s University in Africa
Room Number 9, First Floor, WUA Academic Complex Marondera
Response from Egypt
We are willing for your collaboration in compost production from camel manure.we have a good experience in this field as we are producing more than 130 thousands tons every year of cows and buffaloes manure to high and standard compost for organic agriculture in Egypt.
Dr.Mohamed F. Salem
Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology &Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Institute,University of Sadat City,Egypt.
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Response from CVRL Dubai, UAE; Definitively camel dung is a great product and we use it at CVRL already for many years as fertilizer for our bushes and trees.  I and some other people from the lab use it for their gardens at home.  Important is that you have to grind the balls and that is often an obstacle for its wider use.

Priv. Doz. Dr. Dr. habil. U. Wernery, Scientific Director, Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, PO Box 597, Dubai – United Arab Emirates

https://www.facebook.com/CVRL.UAEwww.cvrl.ae

From Bangladesh;  Assalamu alaikum, Excellent idea,  anaerobic digestion of manure followed by market-oriented value additions to manure and bio-slurry is the answer, you have to assess raw material supply side; how many farms produce thousand tons of manure in what period of time, and how market demand support your processing cost?  Jajakallah

Shahid ul Haque Khan
From the USA
How interesting that the balls need to be ground up. Is there is a machine that does it? Or do you have to tear them by hand? If so, that would be labor-intensive. I would imagine small-batch camel owners here might sell manure if they had the time to grind them, but it will be a low priority and a scarce commodity.
Sincerely,
Christina Adams US 
Image result for Christina Adams camel beauty
Some Responses, I received via Facebook page
Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins It is brilliant manure. I have had it under the microscope and there are so many beneficial microorganisms. I have mixed it with eucalyptus/pine mulch and it was able to break it down so quickly to make an incredible growing media for plants.
Up to the date, did not yet receive the response from the international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, ILRI, ICARDA, and the most required here ‘the GAA’, global agenda of action for sustainable livestock production.
Nancy Abeiderrahmane
Nancy AbeiderrahmaneI thought camel dung was particularly useless, being thoroughly recycled inside the camel. In the desert I don’t even think you can burn it – it is mostly chemical ash. But maybe in farms there is more food and therefore more waste.
Chris O'Hora
 Chris O’Hora We give ours away to community gardens. Greatly appreciated by the organic group
John Geappen

I agree regarding the agricultural benefits of camel pooh. First-hand experience. What I don’t agree with is the idea any one camel will produce up to 15-17 kg of dry manure daily. Pardon the pun, but what a load of shit!
Umair Choudhary We should use organic fertilizer instead of chemical for stretegic human health and disease prevention.
Up to the date, did not yet receive the response from the international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, ILRI, ICARDA, and the most required here ‘the GAA’, global agenda of action for sustainable livestock production.

The Best Option for Sustainable Food Production in Challenging Environment ~is the Promising Camel

Happy Camel’s Day (WCD)

Among the camel’s world, the subcontinent is the region where the day starts first. It is 22nd June in the subcontinent, so I can safely say Happy Camel’s Day. At the occasion of WCD, I started the series of articles based on the documents/material sent from different corners of the world. As my own share, I want to express my views on the role of the camel as a farm animal in NENA region.

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Not the ship but the gift of the desert

Near East and North Africa (NENA) is one of the driest and challenging landscapes on the face of the earth. The major percentage of the global deserted lands fall in this region, making it a hostile ecosystem for many other livestock species. Nature blessed the region with the highly adapted and unique livestock species “the Camel”, well said as Ataullah in Arabic.

As mentioned in the holy book Quran “do they do not look at camel; how strange it is created?” the camel is the animal of unique characteristics’ making it the most valuable creature of the drylands. The people living in this region, especially the camel herders and pastoralists depend on the camels for food, accessibility, and other livelihoods. Camel produces milk in very high ambient temperatures and other climatic challenges, in the same environment, other livestock species are hard to survive. Camel is not in competition with any other livestock as camel browse on very woody and bushy vegetation.

Bandari

The desert’s friend…

In the climate change scenario and fragile security (in some parts of Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria) camel is the animal of choice to provide precious food items as milk (primary product) and meat to ensure the survival of the people. Camel farming needs very low input making it a sustainable profession.

Based on my experience and scientific findings, I can say that camel is the most sustainable farm animal in the region. The cow model (cow dairies) is not sustainable in such a hostile ecosystem and the milk produced is very expensive if calculated in the ecosystem model as the cow needs many times more water to produce one liter of milk. The camel tolerates very high ambient temperatures, on a contrary, the cow needs a cooling system (using fossil oil) to produce milk in the same situation.

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Camel ensures accessibility in the remote areas

The quality of camel milk is very appreciating than that of cow milk. Free of allergen protein, intolerant lactose and low in the saturated long chain, fats making the camel milk the best choice for health sensitive people. The region needs to ensure joint efforts for making policies regarding the food and agriculture and keep the camel on top priority as an animal of food security in climate change scenario.

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They are not in competition with other livestock species

The organization “Camels4Life” which is an advocacy group supporting camel’s cause,  is always willing to support both governments and NGOs for finding ways to use a camel as a sustainable farm animal contrast to its old vision of beast of the burden.

For more details, please go to the link below.

https://camel4milk.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/camel-a-one-in-all-creature/

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk

Bill Gates launches chicken plan to help Africa poor

No doubt, rural chicken is playing pivotal in the socio-economic, socio-cultural and food security chapters of the rural and remote regions of the world. The chicken model for rural micro-development and poverty reduction is always appreciated and accepted globally. Bill Gates has rightly chosen this special small creature to help the rural poor of Africa. I hereby share my experience so for in this field and comment in the ensuing lines.
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For several years, I worked with the projects like that (Bill Gates launches chicken plan to help Africa poor) in rural areas of Pakistan, especially Balochistan. I’m the witness of many projects; given livestock heads to the rural poor to achieve the objectives as following.
  • Provision of rich/important sources of food (protein, minerals and vitamins) for the family use, like milk, egg  and meat etc. This part is especially important for the children and women
  • To get rid from severe poverty as small set of livestock has the capability to help in getting out from the extreme poverty. The families with such set of livestock can manage schooling for their children, also give the purchasing power for daily necessary items.
  • To support women health as livestock is main owned/managed by women especially chicken, goat, buffalo and cow etc. Women gets power to purchase her daily use items for her-selves and her kids.Backyard Chickens & Basket of Eggs.jpg
 But there are some main challenges like;
A. Neglecting the Importance of the Native Chicken/Livestock breeds
Introduction of animal genetic resources from other region (like mountainous breed in low land, etc), even if they were from the same country, resulted in many diverse outcomes. Also, new animals can bring new diseases. During my experience with such project, we could not find the animals given next year. This challenge/mistake leads to many other sad outcomes like dilution/adulteration of local breeds, weakening of the resilience of the communities to the climate change and food security challenge. So I recommend to provide local breed of chicken only.chicken and women.JPG
B. Selection of the deserving people
Some people just like to have free lunch and they will dine such precious project in the first quarter of its life. I have seen such situation in a sheep project.
C. Monitoring of the project
Such projects need proper and contentious monitoring for at least 3 years with proper data recording and keeping bird eye on pros and cons of the development process.
D. Provision of the appropriate set
Provision of a set of chickens which makes sense. The set of five chicken is too small to support a family. The set of animals perform very important role. The chicken set of 10:1 (F:M) will have more chances of success than smaller size of 5 chicken only.
E.  Provision of vet. cover
Provision of continuous veterinary cover can assure the success of the project, especially vaccination against the epidemic diseases. Some diseases outbreaks are very specific to certain regions. (I would never recommend provision of feed for the livestock as a charity.
F. Publication of the outcomes
The data achieved must process and the outcomes of the project must publish for the public use. This huge project will lay guidelines for such projects in the future.
Further reading about the importance of the native chicken;
Looking forward for a successful project to ease the life of rural Africa.

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

The catastrophes of climate change along with growing desertification consequence in the adoption of new strategies. The industrialized nation’s choice is mitigation strategy while among the native livestock keepers’ adaptation is the best tactic. Unfortunately, the so called policy makers (at all levels) are not that much in tune (with the above-said challenges) as the rural indigenous people of the bush are. These sensible livestock keepers know how to materialize livestock agriculture sustainably as; to satisfy versatile requirements of the owner/community and ensure its own life whereas depending on available natural resources.20151009_172921

The so pseudo green revolution (1960s era) was actually a trick of the capitalism to provide an immature solution (factory farming) to increase productivity but contrary it resulted in erosion/dilution of the precious native animal genetic resources and depletion of soil fertility. Coincidentally, nature reacts after each specific period and shed all the unkind things attach to it; intensive farming is failing in many ways.

A Case Study from Balochistan

In months of September, October (2015), I visited the rural areas of northeastern Balochistan. I sniffed a very positive change, the wise decision of the community elders; turning back to the native cattle. Many small scale farmers have adopted the native cattle (Kohe-Suleimani/Lohani/Kakari®) to better utilize free available natural resources and ensure sustainable production. The lovely Kakari cows mostly depend on the bushes, especially Sarghasie (abundantly available bush in the region) which is otherwise useless. Some wise farmers narrated “native cow is the best weed regulator” as she restricts the weeds/bushes to creep in the cropping lands. She is the best converter of bushes into food item and high fibrous manure.20151012_101537

The dung produced by the cattle provides softy and fluffy texture to the soil, making it apt for cropping. The cow manure is highly preferred for wheat, tomato, cauliflower, almond, and apricot agriculture. Sometimes, the dung is used in construction material is added to the mud plaster. The native cow is unique as; grows well, catches high consumer demand, resistant to health ailments/parasites and easy management making it the best choice as a farm animal.20151009_170928

Nevertheless producing little milk (2-3 liter per day with a shorter lactation length), idolized as best in the conversion of poor quality roughages into precious milk and meat. The yummy, creamy and appetizing milk makes it super cow than the exotic one. Its milk is esteemed as beautifying skin and treats febrile conditions. The special taste of ghuarri (a Pashtu word used for ghee) produced from its milk is highly anticipated. Pashtuns’ folk poetry is rich with the appreciation of the precious ghuarri. The surplus ghuarri is sold by the women and the income purely owned by them. Now a day, the prices for ghuarri is too high and attracts bulky Pakistani rupees. Hey! The native genes empower the women, they told.20151009_174051

The steer catches reasonable prices at the occasion of Eid-Adha, highly preferred by locals and suit well to a common customer. A slightly pinkish color beef (not too red) has the special desire and high organoleptic scoring. It is approachable selection for the low-income groups during the Eid-Adha and other religious/cultural occasions. A native keeper whispered that it takes the little time to cook, making a good selection for women.20151011_161325

The strategies adopted by the native/indigenous people are highly useful to guarantee sustainable farming systems under climate change scenario. Their knowledge is based on centuries’ long experience and evolved with the natural phenomena; making it the treasurable heritage of humanity. Unfortunately, their contents are never asked while making policy regarding the livestock agriculture both at national and international levels. It would be so great if native livestock keepers are involved in policy making to ensure sustainable and ecological farming.20151011_161444

For more details, please go to the links below;

http://dry-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/091220_potential_of_livestock_breeds_of_Baluchistan_final_.pdf

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/CGRFA_LIFE_sideevent_kakar.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216121092_Prospects_of_Livestock_Production_in_Balochistan

®Native livestock Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are very diverse in many ways, having different names in different regions, many colors, sizes, and purposes etc.

Camel Peace Caravan for Conservation of Unique Tamarix Forest

The Lasbela region is covered with more than 12% with wide flora diversity, especially unique Tamarix and Jar species. The woodcutter brutally cut these precious forest trees and sell at very cheaper rates in the nearby towns. Hence, deforestation is happening in a very speedy way. With an appealing thematic area, I am trying to divert woodcutter camel communities to use the camel as a touristic opportunity. From main RCD road to the river of Kerri, there is a long camel route, now declared as camel peace caravan. In this way, the camel woodcutters will divert from their hard job to a nice and easy job of the camel caravan. I hope, we can attract more and more people to enjoy this unique touristic opportunity.Tamarix Forest

As a starting point, I and other two colleagues from the Lasbela University started first Camel peace caravan from the campus to Kerri on 3rd May (2014) and came back the next day. All the pictures are already released on my facebook page. The link is given above in the camel peace caravan.

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Camel is an integral part of the Balochistan’s culture and heritage. Lasbela region of Balochistan is well known for its culture, heritage, and camels. Rich with a wide diversity of flora and fauna, Lasbela is the home tract of two camel breeds (cultural notion). Both breeds are briefly discussed in the ensuing lines.

a. Lassi; It is a pack animal, mostly use for wood and other types of transportation, especially use by wood cutters. The animal is also used for meat production. This camel is widely used for meat in the region. The demand for the male animal is quite high at the Islamic ritual of Eid Adha which is one of the main support for the conservation and development of this breed. As its role as a beast of burden is diminishing, the demand for its meat is the future hope for this precious breed. Lassi Breed of Camel In Balochistan

Lasi camel breed

Milking Camel of Lassi Breed in their true habitat

b. Bhirdi; The tribe of breed keepers and camel breed names are the same. This camel is usually used for riding in deserted ecosystems. It is smart and unique animal and milk is by-product use by the pastoralists in the weathers when others animals’ milk is ceased.

Bhirdi Camel Breed

Author riding race camel of Bhirdi breed

Camel is still and will be an integral part of the Lai people’s culture. To advocate the role of the camel in its true habitat of Lasbela, this precious animal can be a very useful source of earning for the marginalized people. Otherwise, they will continue the process of deforestation which will be a great loss for the precious biodiversity of the hot spot of coastal landscape of the country. Camel peace caravan is one of the important initiatives not only to halt deforestation but also to use this animal of peace for the further strengthening of peace and brotherhood in the region.

International Camel Conference at Islamia University Bahawalpur Pakistan

The International Camel Conference (ICC) under the patronage of Camel Association of Pakistan and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur was organized in Baghdad campus of Islamia University (19-21 Dec 2013). Bahawalpur being the city of the great Thar desert and home of camel culture was the right choice for this event. Many scientists, research scholars, camel herders and students from different universities and institutions participated in this important event on the camel. Many animal scientists, students and camel herders from Balochistan province also participated.

Marrecha camel safari caravan passing nearby the Dirawarr Forte

Camel is the unique heritage of the region Cholistan

FAO Balochistan chapter sponsored a group of camel herders and L&DD officials to participate in the conference. The conference was very versatile of its nature, not only covered the camel science but provided a good opportunity to camel people to know about the camel culture of great Thar desert which is famously known as the Cholistan. The vice-chancellor of the IslamiUniversityty (Dr Iftikhar) was very kind and humble while providing all the best facilities and opportunities to the conference participants. Camel scientists from 7 different countries also participated.The Desert’s Livestock Species Have Tremendous Potential for Milk Produciton

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The scientists presented their work on camel culture, milk production potential, milk characteristics, camel breeds and breeding, diseases and economic opportunities etc. The local media covered the event in a very nice way and kept the country audience and viewers aware regarding the conference. At the end of the camel conference, the following recommendations were suggested.

  • To maintain camel genetic and production diversity with the involvement of the camel herders and policymakers
  • To maintain camel habitats, especially Cholistan desert intact and safe from land grabbing etc
  • The slogan of ‘DESERT SHOULD REMAIN THE DESERT‘ was given for Eco-conservation of Camels and ‘SAVE PASTROLISM
  • More interaction development among the camel people, camel scientists and policymakers should initiate
  • Research on camel diseases and other health issues should initiate and coordinate with the international bodies in this field
  • Publication of full-length articles of the abstracts received in ICC-2013 in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Industry Liaison for Value Addition of camel products
  • Enhanced collaboration with foreign camel researchers and institute

IMG_2082[1].jpgCamel conference was a great opportunity, except the bad weather with the heavy fog. At the end of the conference, the meeting of the CAP was organized and some decisions were made. The decisions of the CAP are given in the ensuing lines.

  • The foreign scientist (not more than 5) will be invited purely on merit basis to make it more worthwhile and fruitful
  • The meeting was held on 21st Dec at 8 pm
  • I suggested a seminar (with very specific title) and with very specific number of participants
  • The seminar will be in the month of Jan or Feb 2015, as the next ISOCARD is in June 2015 Almatay Kazakhstan
  • The venue of the meeting will be decided later but most probably, Karachi, Uthal, Quetta or Lahore
  • CAP member list will be compiled according to the registered members in 3 categories, i.e.
  1. category A. Scientist/Activist/NGOs
  2. Category B. Camel Herders
  3. Category C. Students
  • Next election will be held on the occasion of the Seminar in 2015
  • The CAP registration amount, other income and expenditure if any, will be compiled and will be present to the cabinet
  • A Skype/online consultative meeting of the willing CAP members or other scientists to highlight/fix and mention the priority areas on camel in Pakistan

I am very pleased now, as the importance of camel is being appreciated in Pakistan. In the climate change context and challenge of food security; camel is the best choice to accept these challenges.