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September 17, 2019

Sindh to preserve local livestock breeds

Business

September 17, 2019

HYDERABAD: Livestock breeders said Sindh needed action-based research to promote the most important livestock breeds, especially indigenous ones, to help avoid the threat of food insecurity.

They were speaking at a workshop on “Conservation and improvement of indigenous breeds in Sindh” organised by the World Bank-funded Sindh Agriculture Growth Project (SAGP) Livestock component on Monday at a local hotel. The event attracted breeders, officials of various sections of the livestock department, and academia.

Quite recently (before rainfall) about eight districts of the province were declared drought-affected and food insecure due to prolonged dryness. These areas had lost natural grazing fields, which affected productivity of animals in terms of unavailability of nutrient feed.

Sindh Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdul Bari Khan Pitafi said there were many valuable breeds, including poultry, indigenous and traditional ones in the province, which should be promoted. He said traditional breeders should contribute to preserve breeds that could survive in specific habitats.

Secretary Livestock and Fisheries Aijaz Ahmed Mahesar said, “Presently, we have mixed breeds due to increasing trend of cross breeding, which has resulted in loss of indigenous breeds.”

He said proposed livestock breeding authority might be able to improve breeds, but it would take more than 30 years to overcome mixed breeds and save indigenous livestock. Livestock Department Director General Abdul Qadir Junejo said, “We collected data in 2016, which showed that there are about seven million cows and 7.5 million buffalos.” He said there was need for fresh data.

Sindh breeding act has been passed from the Sindh Assembly, and formation of Sindh Livestock Breeders Authority was working effectively, he said, adding that Thari cows were the most productive. “We have to promote farmers of such valuable breeds,” he added.

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