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Dairy hub modernizes farming in Punjab

Dairy hub modernizes farming in Punjab

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Published by Fakhra Hassan

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Published by: Fakhra Hassan on Mar 22, 2011
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11/14/2011

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Dairy Hub modernizes farming in Punjab
Fakhra Hassan, for Spirit Magazine, Tetra Pak 
The Pakistani livestock sector, worlds 3
rd
largest milk producer is at a nerve-wreckingcrossroads with some bright prospects ahead, especially for Punjab  the countrys largestcontributor to the national milk production volume. According to the Livestock & DairyDevelopment Board (LDDB), Punjabs share of contribution to milk production is above 72 percent. However, the nerve-wrecking facts are that 95 per cent of the milk produced is in thehands of the loose market which is not accounted for in the GDP that currently stands at aminiscule 11 per cent. Only 3.5 per cent of the milk is being sold in packaged form. Additionally,Pakistan has the worlds lowest yield per animal, high animal mortality rate as well as thelowest number of animals per farm, says the Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock(MINFAL).The question is: what is keeping the 3
rd
largest milk producer from realizing its full economicpotential? According to a study conducted by Dr Jude Capper Dale Bauman of CornellUniversity, and Roger Cady, former researcher for Monsanto, the comparison between moderndairy farming and traditional dairy systems of the 1940s in the US lead to some thoughtfulanswers to the dilemma in Pakistan.For the comparison, researchers used a deterministic model based on the metabolism andnutrient requirements of the dairy herd. Both the modern and traditional production systemswere modeled using characteristic management practices, herd population dynamics andproduction data from the dairy farms.The findings suggested that modern dairy practices require considerably fewer resources thantraditional dairy systems of the 1940s with 21 per cent of animals, 23 per cent of fodder, 35 per
 
 
cent of the water and only 10 per cent of the land required to produce the same one billionlitres of milk.In the 1940s, the US dairy population totaled 26 million cows with an annual milk production of 53.6 billion litres. By contrast, researchers say the 2007 US herd population comprised of 9.2million cows with an annual milk production of 83.2 billion litres.The research says that modern dairy industry produced 59 per cent more milk using 64 per centfewer cows. One of the major reasons for this bright disparity is that in contrast to traditionaldairy farming, modern dairy farming is characterized by use of calculated proportionsformulated to fulfill nutrition requirements, herd health, management programmes andfacilities designed to minimize stress and maximize production.Pakistan is home to 56 million cows and buffaloes with an annual milk production of 36.6 billionlitres. The country is transitioning from traditional to modern farming practices and the goodnews is that some of the major industrial players in modern dairy technology have taken a boldinitiative to reach out to small farm owners across the rural areas.There is progress in some parts of the world, and in some parts there isnt. The basic reasonsare lack of education, lack of new skills and awareness of new technology. If we know thesethings, we can do tasks in a much more effective way and faster, said Azhar Ali Syed, ManagingDirector for Tetra Pak Pakistan at the inauguration ceremony of Community Veterinary Hospitalat the Dairy Hub at Kassowal in District Sahiwal, Punjab in late November this year. We arealso citizens of this country and have a responsibility to share the knowledge acquired fromexperience with our fellow country people.Tetra Pak has been working in Pakistan for the last 27 years promoting hygienic . The company,in early 2009, came up with an excellent solution of establishing Dairy Hubs in the rural areaswhere these problems could be addressed. It is worthwhile to therefore examine how far the
 
 
Dairy Hub has reached in modernizing the rural communities in dairy farming and help Pakistanmeet the milk supply-demand deficit by the year 2015. (For background, see
hite revolutionfor greener businesses
, Spirit magazine, Issue # ??, Pg ??)The Dairy Hub is aimed at serving about 20-25 villages within its 15-20 km radius targetedtowards dairy farmers with a small herd size, i.e., approximately 5-6 animals per head. EngroDairy Hub commenced operations in 13 villages at the Hub vicinity. Within only six months of itsarrival in the small district of Sahiwal since July, the Engro Dairy Hub is already transforminglivelihoods of hundreds of farmers and their herds with its modern milking technology,technical know-how and quality treatment. During this time period, about 2,000 farmers havebeen trained in herd management and about 2,200 animals had been vaccinated. Experts fromTetra Pak and Engro also held four silage-making demonstrations for the farmers and providedthem hands on training to conduct the Mastitis test.The initial milk collection during the Engro Dairy Hub start up was 450 litres per day which hasnow increased by 788 per cent to 4,000 litres per day in just five months  a milestoneachievement in the history of Punjabs dairy sector.Pakistan has one of the best canal systems in the world, said Saud Pasha, General ManagerEngro Foods at the Kassowal Veterinary Hospital inauguration ceremony. We only need toaccept and acknowledge the livestock and dairy sector as an industry, he stressed. (See box)
S
oftware to monitor milk development
The Dairy Hub comes with an excellent follow up tool in the form of software to measure andmonitor the impact of activities at the farm level. The local server is installed at the Dairy Hubmain office and field supervisors are coordinating with the farmers in collecting data on theanimals. The software is being used to generate reports that would include:
y
 
Milk yield per animal per day

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