ISLAMABAD: United International Group (UIG) Chairman Mian Shahid on Sunday asked the government to take concrete steps in order to revive the dairy industry, which is facing problems due to increased cost of inputs.
“Additional cost of inputs has pushed the vibrant dairy sector into crisis as the cost of doing business has increased by seven percent,” he said, adding that local and foreign investors have invested around $700 million in the dairy sector in last five years, which is now being reduced due to lack of interest.
He said that the government has reduced duty on import of milk from SAARC countries to 15 percent while India has slapped 68 percent duty on import of milk powder to safeguard its industry.
“Pakistan is the third largest milk producer in the world, producing around 55 million tonnes of milk, however the production is increasing by 4 percent per annum while demand in increasing by 15 percent annually,” he added.
Shahid said Pakistan exports skimmed and fresh mils while it also imports 40,000 tonnes of milk, mainly from India, which is equal to 3,20,000 tonnes of fresh milk.
The global milk demand is set to increase by 36 percent in nine years, which can be an opportunity for Pakistan, he said, adding that the situation demands patronage by the government as despite 75 million animals, average milk production is 4-5 litres per animal, which is 30-40 litres in developed nations.
He demanded 100 percent duty on import of skimmed milk and dairy products to safeguard interests of 40 million dairy farmers in the informal sector and otherwise this business would not remain viable.
Meanwhile, sources at the Ministry National Food Security and Research said there is sufficient livestock in the country to cater to the requirement of meat and milk.
They said the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) would be kept intact for bringing further improvement in the agriculture sector, adding that various laboratories had been strengthened to improve foot and mouth disease of livestock diagnosis in the country.
The ministry has taken several measures during the last five years to prevent cattle diseases including bird flu, foot and mouth disease. They said that foot and mouth, ranikhet were endemic diseases of livestock and poultry respectively in the country.
Keeping in view the seasonal incidence, morbidity and mortality pattern of the disease, vaccination schedules had been developed. Farmers have been advised to carry out prophylactic L-+ vaccination of their livestock and poultry in order to prevent, control and limit the cattle and poultry diseases at their farms, they added.
Pakistan had become bird flu free since June 2008 and rinderpest disease since May 2007. Moreover, the ministry has filed a dossier to Office International Epizooties (OIE), France in October 2015 to declare Pakistan free from Mad Cow disease (BSE).
The said dossier is currently in the process of assessment stage in OIE. All measures have helped to prevent, control and limit livestock and poultry diseases in the country, they maintained.
Source: Daily times