Cash cow: Sahiwal cattle breed not being utilised to full potential

It can withstand less than favourable climates and has a high milk yield

Chaudhry Rizwan Tahir July 29, 2019

SAHIWAL: The Sahiwal breed cow has long been recognised as a genetic resource. In 2014, the government issued a commemorative postage stamp worth Rs8 to mark 100 years of Sahiwal cattle breed conservation.

Known for being able to withstand less than favourable climates and for their high milk yield, the Sahiwal cattle breed was also reared by the inhabitants of the Indus Valley civilisation approximately seven to eight thousand years ago.

Many famous breeds of cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats have been present in Punjab since the ancient civilisations of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa; the area between River Ravi and River Sutlej was discovered to be an excellent breeding ground with favourable climatic conditions.

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Additional Director Livestock Dr Samreen Kousar stated that although the Sahiwal cattle breed is considered to be native to the Sahiwal district, it can be found in many cities of Punjab province including Pakpattan, Okara and Khanewal.

They are also found in remote area of Peshawar and Karachi, she added. In addition, the reddish brown cows have also been exported to more than 20 countries around the world. For example, in 1950 the breed was exported to Australia.

Now, Australia rears the Sahiwal cattle breed for both its meat and its milk. According to Dr Samreen, the Sahiwal cattle breed reared in Australia produces at least 50 litres of milk. She maintained that the cows can now also be found in Brazil and a selected few African countries.

“The Sahiwal cattle breed also has a higher immunity and is able to withstand harsh weather conditions,” she highlighted. She added that this year, the Sahiwal cattle breed achieved first position in the Jashn-e-Bahra milk competition by producing around 24 to 39 kilogrammes of milk. On an average, the fat content in the mils is around 4.8%.

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“Only 44 farms in the country are registered as official breeders,” she said. She said that continuous research on the Sahiwal cattle breed’s immunity against diseases and their ability to bear harsh climates is underway. In this manner, similar characteristics may also be isolated in other animals.

In Pakistan, the population of humans is increasing at a faster rate than that of livestock. In comparison, in developed countries the growth rate of livestock is three to four times higher than that of the human population.

There is an urgent need to work along modern and scientific lines on animal breeding and all that is associated with it on an emergency basis so that the country can get better animal resources. In addition to addressing the shortage of field staff, the government of Punjab should also increase funding for the livestock department.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2019.


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