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    Combating poverty through promotion of livestock education: A way forward

    Combating poverty through promotion of livestock education: A way forward

    PESHAWAR, (APP): Every year, thousands of youth join Govt jobs as career, many visit abroad for employment and few try luck in the painsticking profession of veterinary medicines to serve their countrymen.

    Dr Jawad Zaman, a DVM specialist of Nowshera district is among one of the talented youth of Pakistan, who have set a unique example for thousand of unemployed youth after joining the doctor of vaternary medicine’s profession as a career in Pakhtuns dominated society that considered it as an unrecognized profession owing to socio-cultural barriers.

    “When I joined the university of livestock and animal husbandry at DI Khan for 4 years BS DVM Degree , my friends and relatives made a mock of me, and declared it a waste of time,” said Dr Jawad who opened veterinary clinic at Pabbi bazaar after completion of his professional education.

    Inspite of the non-encouraging behaviors, he said “I have focused on my goal. Today, I have two vaternary clinics i. e one at Pabbi bazzar and other at my hometown Mohib Banda Nowshera besides visiting as a consultant to cattlefarms, and medicine pharmaceuticals companies by earning handsome monthly packages,” said Dr Jawad, adding great scope of employment was existed for youth in livestock and animal husbandry’s profession in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    In KP, around 30-35 million rural population were engaged in livestock raising, having household holdings of 2-3 cattle and buffalo besides 5-6 sheep and goats per family, which helped them to drive 30-40% of their income from livestock.  The poultry meat also contributes 28.5% of the total meat production in Pakistan.

    Despite of substantial meat and milk potential of the livestock and poultry sectors, he  claimed that there was a shortage of DVM doctors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where farmers often face financial losses in case of ailness or mortality of animals.

    Demanding an increase of the veterinary universities and institutes, he said quack doctors were playing with animals of poor farmers whom were largely relaying on milk business in order to feed their families.

    “I had lost a cow in mysterious condition apparently due to foot and mouth disease last year due to lack of DVM doctor in my area, resulting an increase in my financial difficulties to pay the education expanses of my children and healthcare services,” said Qaiser Khan, a resident of Wapda Town Nowshera.

    He said the cow give about 15 kilogram milk a day which he sold in the market and support his family of six besides paying electricity and telephone bills and meeting other household expenses.

    He suggested inclusion of DVM courses in school and college’s syllabus and loans on easy terms and loans on easy terms and conditions to poor farmers of KP imperative to increase milk and meat production.

    Dr Aftab Ahmed, Director Livestock and Dairy Devolopment KP told APP that DVM doctors seats in DI Khan vaternary university were increased while students of Khyber Pakthunkhwa were also being sponsored at veterinary universities Lahore, Tando Jam Sindh and Faisalabad.

    A mega dairy farm and livestock project has been launched with assistance of federal government for help of poor and rains/flood affected farmers in KP including merged districts. 

    Under the project, five imported purebred cows bearing 20 percent cost by farmers and 80 percent covered by the government was being provided.

    About 160 model and livestock farms were established in all seven merged tribal districts of Khyber Pakthunkhwa while work on 20 more livestock farms were in pipeline on which work would soon start to engage more poor farmers and livestock owners this years.

    The estimated cost of establishment of a model livestock farm is Rs3.5 million out of which 80 percent is being provided by the government and 20 percent shared by the beneficiary registered farmer, he said, adding the business and jobs oriented projects have started positive changes in lives of tribesmen.

    He said it was mandatory for each farmer to run the poultryfarm for at least five years and properly look after animals provided by the government in a bid to increase milk and meat production besides increasing farmers’ income.

    One farm provides jobs to 900 people in merged areas, he said, adding the government also provides imported milking machines to registered farmers to avoid waste of milk and ensure its quality.

    Keeping in view of an availability of vast land in seven merged tribal districts suitable for livestock and dairy farming, he said that another project i.e revival of existing poultry farms in merged areas under which free feed, medicines and vaccination services were being provided to the registered farmers by DVM doctors.

    The objectives of these projects are to conserve livestock and dairy wealth by trying to improve the productive capabilities of livestock and poultry through effective animal health coverage and artificial insemination services, feed and fodder for benefits of tribal people.

    To take advantage of the poultry farms project, he said the farmer was required to have a day old chicks while medicines and feed services were the responsibility of livestock department. 

    At least 45 model dairy farms with 3,000 poultry birds were established last year in merged areas.

    The government is supporting farmers in construction of model semi-environmentally controlled sheds and farms in merged areas for which Rs seven million would be provided by farmers and 10 million to 15 million by the government, he said adding the government would help registered farmers in solarization of their farms. 

    Each farm would have at least 30,000 poultry birds, he said, adding the project would change the destiny of tribal people.

    The government, under poverty alleviation through enhancement of milk and meat value chain services in merged areas, is financially supporting farmers who have at least 20 animals and a model cattle farms, and that 20 farms were already established under this initiative.

    “The interest of tribal people in these projects is overwhelming, and the department considers to extende the desired project for facilitation of more underprivileged farmers and poultry breeders.”

    Besides merged areas, he said about 107 model farms were being established in settled districts of the province to provide poultry and livestock meat to consumers at affordable rates. 

    He said approximately, 13.6million litres of milk and Rs1,360 million profit would be achieved from these farms in KP.

    Dr Aftab said the trickled down positive effects of these three mega livestock and poultry projects worth Rs3,214 million started under the  national emergency agriculture programme worth over Rs309.7 billion to alleviate poverty, increase meat and milk production have started visible at the grassroots level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Three federal funded gigantic projects including ‘poverty alleviation through development of rural poultry’ amounting Rs834 million, Save the Calf worth Rs1,554 million and Feedlot Fattening Programme of Rs826 million have provided much-needed relief to price-hike stricken people, women, persons with disabilities and under-privileged segments of society.

    The basic concept of the milk village project is procurement, processing and distribution of milk aimed at boosting economic wellbeing of rural milk producers and helping urban consumers get quality milk at a reasonable price.  The department is trying to take various steps for increasing milk production by organizing dairy cooperative societies at village and tehsil level.

    These projects after completion would help significantly reduce prices of meat and poultry in the open market besides generating employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of poor farmers.

    Dr Aftab said that it was mandatory for sponsored DVM doctors to serve the local people for five years in their districts after completion of education.

    He said unfortunately most of farmers and cattle owners consult DVM doctors very late about illness of their animals which prove fatal.

    Dr Aftab advised farmers and cattle growers to bring their animals to nearest veterinary hospitals for check up to ensure early treatment to save their lives besides averting financial losses.

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