The globe is under stressful pressure of climate change. Droughts, erratic and unseasonal rains, floods, and rise in mercury are the salient features of climate change. Some regions are under the severe affects of climate change, i.e. Saharan & and horn Africa and South-east Asia. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are under severe floods since last few decades and each year the intensity is even higher than the earlier. In 2010, Pakistan was adversely affected with the floods and this year again, the intensity of flood is severe and havoc losses are reported from different parts of the Indus delta. The crops, villages and settlements came under the flood water and heavy losses to livestock farms.
Author with the camel keepers in Cholistan desert of Pakistan
Being involve and active in the livestock breeds, conservation and policies, I learnt great lesson for the floods and the climate change. Small-scaled farming, pastoral people and landless farmers with the native livestock breeds were either not effected at all or rarely affected. Their livestock is not tied/bound in farms. Their livestock can escape from floods with their own will and do not need farmer support. On the other hand large farms with the exotic poultry birds were severely affected and seldom saved alive. The same was the problem with the high yielding industrialized cattle breed (Frisian). The native livestock breeds can walk longer, swim in water, and resist feed and water shortage. If fresh water is not available, they can rely on muddy flood water.
Native livestock breeds can resist after shocks of the flood in a great way, as they are resistant to diseases and other challenges They do not need special housing and can be adapted to any circumstances in a short period of time. They are polite and nice outdoor animals and well familiar with the owner commands and in many cases understand the name given by the owner. Camel and buffalo are unique of its kind in such situation. Such livestock breeds and their production potential are the real asset of the affected people. The native livestock is not only an asset for owner but a good producer of food item in such a harsh conditions.
Such livestock breeds and production systems needs policy support and demand for strengthening and conservation. In the present situation as FAO is promoting the concept of global agenda of action for sustainable livestock development and a multi-stake holders meeting is going to held (15-17 January 2013, Nairobi, Kenya), it is paramount need of time to consider the role of small/landless livestock keepers and pastoral livestock keepers. The policies void of their support cannot be fruitful. The recommendations proposed as the outcome of the livestock futures conference in Bonn, Germany are well explained and practical to take the small scale livestock keepers on board.