Tag Archives: Pakistan

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.

 

Mushrooming of Commercial Dairying in Karachi City of Pakistan

A case study from Sindh Dairy Farm (SDF), Karachi-Hyderabad Highway Karachi

This study is based on the information provided by the owner (Jameel Memon) and many workers at the farm.

Overview of Dairying in Karachi: Karachi is the hub of semi-commercial dairy in the country. There almost one million lactating animals (60:40 ratio of buffalo and cattle) while producing approximately 8 thousand tons milk per day (average 8 liters/animal/day). There are almost 22,500 milk outlets in the city. The milk is sold as fresh without pasteurization or other treatment. The consumers prefer to buffalo milk.

Dairy Animal Composition

The ration among dairy animal is 60:40 of buffalo and cows respectively. The total animals at the farm are 9000 including beef cattle. About 3000 are lactating (33% in milk) animal, 500 beef animal and rest are comprised of all ages including heifers, dry animals, youngsters, and calves etc. Buffalo has mainly comprised of Kundi breed followed by Nili-Ravi. According to the respondent, the best buffalo at their farm is Kundi with Badeeni strain (type). Such type of Kundi breed is called as Kundi chorrh. Following Badeeni strain, Nili-Ravi with its appealing characteristics of wide cylindrical body and white patches (forehead, muzzle, foot and switch of tail) is one of the best buffalo at the farm. Other salient features of Bedeeni and Nili Ravi are the easy milkings, longer lactation length, thick milk and friendly behavior of the animal.

The dairy cows are comprised of pure Holstein Friesian and its crosses with the native cattle breeds, especially, Cholistani, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Thari. According to the performance records and respondents at the farm, the F1 cross of Cholistani and HF is one of the best choices both for milk yield and adaptation to the climatic conditions.

Identification and Ethnoterminology

There is no special identification system, especially for beef animals. The beef animals are mostly identified on the basis of their colors and ethnoterminology. Some interesting ethnic names are given below.

Badel, Nukra, Nchi, Reema, Malang, etc

Some are tagged with factory made plastic tags. The tags are imported from New Zealand with laser technology printing. The name of the company is Zee Tag.  There is no software for identification, tracing etc. Two separate types of identification are use for cattle and buffalo. The tag system is useful for data about dead, culled, sick, dry, pregnant, lactating etc animals. The treatment is then easy. They identify the animal with long lactation and short lactation period are being differentiated. Common word of the tag was SDF (abbreviation for Sindh Dairy Farm).

 Milk Production Potential at Farm Level

According to the farm statistics and other findings, the cow produces more milk than buffalo. The cow produces 14 liters/day (305-day lactation), while buffalo produces 8 liters/day in the same period. The farm has remarkable achievement and experience with the crossing of HF with Cholistani (HFXC) F1 and other native cattle as mentioned above. The best performance is proved by HFXC F1 with a production record of 54 liters per day as the maximum. The owner also praised the performance of Red Swedish with a yield of 80 liters per day.

They practice test day milk recording system at the interval of 18 and 19 days. The test day method for milk recording is an easy and handy approach for such a large herd like SDF. The good dairy characteristics are alertness, pearl eyes, slim and smart body, clear cut head and friendly behaImagevior.

The milk is sold on a daily basis and sent to the city outlets in big tanks. Moreover, the farm has 4 chillers with a capacity 1000 liter each. Hand milking is practiced and 12 animals are milked by a milker daily. Almost 250 milkers work at the farm, which is probably the unique of its kind throughout the world.

Selection and Management of Future Dairy Animal

Future heifers are selected on the basis of their parental performance (pedigree record). They simply select female calves with good health; alertness and pedigree performance (milk production of 20-22 liter/daily). Also, some other traits like udder structure (of their mother), teats placement, easy milking etc are also considered. Bull is only selected for crossbred cows with the criteria discussed above. For pure breeds, semen is imported from the companies within the country and abroad.

Housing and adaptation

Wide paddock with open barns is the major housing facility at farms. Some big barns with double row tail to the tail system are also constructed for HF and other exotic breeds. It was noticed that HF and other exotic breeds are feeling more heat than the other and some were found with labor breathing. They do not feel good when temperature crosses 40 °C. The weather of the region is hot and humid in summer.

Calf care and feeding;

They offer colostrums just after birth. If they do not take it, it is offered then through canola orally. They do not practice milk replacer or other supplementary feed to the calves. They keep calves on whole milk for 60 days. According to them, such practice is security to the calf health and vigorous future crop. They do not inject booster or other stimulating hormones except that of Oxytocin.

Feed and feeding

A mixture of green roughages with wheat straw is offered throughout the year. Total Mix Ration (TMR) is also offered to the dairy animals according to the milk yield. TMR is formulated and prepared at nutrition section of the farm. They use maize, pulses, soya meal, rice noodles (expired), canola meal, palm cake, cotton seed cake, wheat bran, rice polish, molasses etc for TMR production. They offer salt stone in the manger. Fresh water is provided ad lib and round the clock.

Unique Style of Good transport at Farm

They use bull/steer Cart for traction on the farm. Thari breed is considered as best for traction with a traction power of 3.6 ton. There are about 10 traction bulls at the farm.

Manure Management and Traditional Knowledge

The manure is dried in the open paddock and use for bedding of the animals. The extra manure is being sold to the garden farmers of banana and mango @ 500 PKR per truck. Such price is very minimal if compare to the prices in other parts of the country.

As a traditional practice, manure use for fumigation, fly repletion, ticks and other external parasites control at the farm. The ashes of the manure are spread in the barns to control ticks and other parasites. Manure act as the biological control. They seldom use the chemical for fly and insects control. Chickens are also used for tick control and also are used as game birds by the employees residing over there.

Prophylaxes and Health Care

A veterinarian with Para-veterinary Staff is available to treat animals systematically. Febrile and respiratory diseases are the major ailments at the farm. Only vaccination for FMD and Pneumonia are practiced.

Conclusion

Pakistan is one of the largest milk producing country in the world. The demand for milk is ever increasing because of many reasons. The gap between demand and supply of milk is widening. Also, efficiency gap between potential and production is very wide. To fulfill such gaps, modernization is on its way in the dairy husbandry of the country. Commercial, semi-industrial and industrial enterprises are being introduced to replace rural based subsistence dairying. SDF is a unique example of its kind about semi-industrial dairy production. There are many challenges and gaps in such systems, need to fulfill for the abundant and secure supply of country’s masses.

Policy Level Initiatives are Needed for Camel Milk in Pakistan

Camels4Life…. Advocacy for camel keepers is the immense need of time. They should take on board while making policies for food and agriculture, especially about camels.camel for blog

When I started camel research in 2005, very little  information was available on the camel in Pakistan. Very few among the city dwellers were aware of the peculiarities of camel milk, especially milk. There we no information available as a separate entity on camel milk in government economic survey etc. Camel milk was considered as other milk than cow and buffalo.

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The policy makers were completely blank about the camel and its role in Pakistan. I completed my research/thesis of Ph.D. on this unique animal and proved its value as a live animal, role of products and also role in culture and heritage. The camel is getting more and more importance. Pakistani camel is now well documented in breeds and their worth is well defined. Now there are many people who know about camel importance in the cities also. The camel herders already knew it since centuries. My article on a camel as unique and fascinating animal played a pivotal role in camel promotion.

Kohi Camel Caravan

http://saves.org.pk/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=20

Yesterday I visited a camel milk shop in Karachi. It was a great pleasure for me to see a shop with camel milk. The camel is the next superfood indeed and I’m glad that the general public awareness in this regard is increasing. I am so proud and confident of my voice as strong and loud. Superfood (Camel Milk) can Beat the Challenge of Superbug (Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics)

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Camel Milk Competition in Cholistan

Camel milk competition concluded last evening here in Cholistan desert (of Pakistan). It was quite interesting in many ways and I felt that at least I should share some of its salient features. It started on 12th October and concluded on 14th. Some 40 camels (locally called Dachis) contested and some owners had more than one. All animals were towards the end of their lactation. The size of the calf also matched with this narration. First thing was that it was not the best time for such competitions because camels generally calve in Jan/Feb/March and better time could have been April/May.Barela Camel is the Milk Line of Riverine Pakistan
 These Breela camels won the milk competition in Punjab Pakistan
The participants were not just the men and grownup boys as happens with our cattle/buffalo competitions in March every year. Rather families were there. Milkers combinations were man and wife or man and daughter or mother and daughter or mother and son etc. It was heartening to see these lively families. Amma Pathani (Mom Pathani) was very prominent. She contested like other men and forced even me (the chief judge) to announce results of every camel first in the local dialect, then in local language and then in national language as it was difficult for her (and other contestants, mostly unable to read or write) to wait for more than few seconds. So I had to round things for announcing and remain precise on paper. Her camel got 4th position and was given a special prize. Milk yield (once a day milking, recorded for two days) for 1st, 2nd and 3rd position camels was 17.1 (Bawali), 15.7 (Katti) and 15.1 (Malookan.  I wonder if they could produce at this level in 9-10th months of their lactation what would be the yield in the 2nd month after calving. We will see next year.
 Another important yet expected information was that most of these animals were 2nd and 3rd calvers with some 1st calvers and very few in later parities. Most belonged to either Barela (the dairy breed) or a cross between Barela and Marecha (the racing and dancing breed). Very few were Sindhi or crossbred Sindhis.
Camel dances at the event were worth watching. We had to walk on sand (with camels on our back) about 2 km to the prize distribution ceremony and dances continued. People seemed drunk with camel milk as they did not stop for a second. Age was not a limiting factor. It ranged from ~4 to >80.
 An important announcement is that next year’s camel milk and dance competitions will coincide (conclude) with the camel day, 22nd June. As announced previously, camel conference is planned next year at Bahawalpur and site of milk competition is just 35 km from the city.
Camels from Pakistan are going to Gulf and even to France (for camel milk chocolate) but without a proper breeding and replacement system, my fear is that sustainability issue will haunt in future. Exploitation of camel herders is also feared. Thanks to all those who kept encouraging and were even trying to see everything through sound waves. We will try to post on this discussion forum as the next year events unfold. Few photos are placed. More photos with videos will be posted on http://fangrpk.org.
Reported by
Dr. M. Sajjad Khan
Professor/National Project Director
Dept. Animal Breeding and Genetics
University of Agriculture Faisalabad 38040
PAKISTAN

 

The ‘Goat Walk’ of Dancing Goats and Turbans

A public letter of Dr. Sajjad Khan. He is Professor and Chairman of the Animal Breeding and Genetics  Department, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

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Dear colleagues

Catwalks and bull walks are common vocabulary terms yet, ‘goat walk’ may be something new for many of you debating conservation and improved utilization of animal genetic resources, every day. We here in Pakistan are bombarded with information relevant to many negative events, perhaps to keep a common person surprised and vulnerable. The sober events are rarely reported and of course, if ‘dignitaries’ are missing in such events, print and electronic media do not waste space. Of course, there may be more thrilling events than goats wearing turbans.

We are rich in genetic diversity. Language changes after a crew flight and so are the goat breeds which are at least 36. Since we are executing a goat conservation effort, I am happily reporting that people are trying to conserve a breed of goat called Nachi (dancing) through appreciation of its characteristic walk.

The shows are held in southern Punjab (Utch Sharif, District of Bahawalpur), the home track of the breed and our project area. The meat is the primary product while milk is also consumed but people keep the breed more for its unique dancing gait than the consumable products. For these shows, farmers gather from all the surrounding areas on foot, the evening before the show. The rehearsal is done that evening. Of course few come with tractors tied trollies to haul their goats and village supporters. ‘Goat walk’ is held early in the morning as heat is not bearable afterward and there are no tents or chairs.

For this event, held last week, there were 22 farmers and a number of goats per farmer varied between 3 and 20. One had to walk in front of the flock. You cannot carry a stick but can have wooden handle ax on your shoulder, most had. You cannot use your hands to guide goats. Can whistle or call goats verbally but not repeatedly. Walk about a 100 yard in front of semi circled chanting and gasping people with an occasional child or two crossing in front and return back to the starting point. A judge will follow your flock at a distance and may ask you to repeat the walk. Turning back should be as smooth as possible and flocks ability to keep intact and follow you will be judged by the judge. The leading goat (with a most beautiful walk) among the flock will be decorated with a white turban if you win (meet the minimums) and there was no limit on a number of winners. If all participating flocks had the ability to win a turban, all will be given a turban. Now you can dance (alone or with villagers) and give charity to drum beaters and kids and can even through currency in the air. Everything is on a self-help basis with the major contribution from a well to do locally. Every few villages seem to have one such person. Next time, we will try to have turbans for the owners as well.

A few years back Nachi was considered vulnerable. Out goat show last year also helped to bring it back. We plan the second national goat show this October and hope breeds such as Nachi are not vulnerable anymore. Let’s help people feel good of what they are doing by keeping and raising these indigenous breeds. Will report on National Goat Show being planned for this year in (October, 19-21) here at the University. Everybody is invited. Videos for this event will be posted on the project website (http://www.fangrpk.org/). Until then bye bye.

Best Regards

Sajjad