Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam addressed International Worksop “Role of Animal Genetic Resources in Ensuring Food Security and Improving Livestock Production” organized by Islamic Organization for Food Security.
Federal Minister for National Food and Security Syed Fakhar Imam said that he believes that Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFC) has provided a platform for policy and operational technical workforce in the OIC member countries to discuss the formidable challenges to food security in the Islamic countries in particular and associated regions in general.
Minister said that the present government has already focused livestock to ensure food security and alleviate poverty particularly from rural settings. To this end, Pakistan has planned to improve animal genetic production potential through artificial insemination and to meet SPS requirements. We have approved national disease surveillance and control system and also piloting animal identification and traceability system on limited scale. I am sure we will hit the target in due course of time and Pakistan will be one of those countries who are meeting the international requirements for export of animal products to high end markets as well.
Similarly, Pakistan has also signed an MOU with the Chinese Government for the establishment of FMD free zone with vaccination in the country. This FMD free zone can open up additional high-end markets for the export of livestock and livestock products around the world which would be big incentives for our farmers to produce more, not only to meet our local requirement but also to produce surplus for regional countries and beyond.
Fakhar said that the national herd of food animals of Pakistan consists of 49.6 million heads of cattle, 41.2 million buffaloes, 31.2 million sheep, 78.2 million goats and 1.1 million camels. There are 5, 12, 28 and 25 breeds of buffalo, cattle, sheep and goat in Pakistan respectively. Fairly good number breeds of Camel, Horse, Ass, Mules and yak do add to the genetic diversity of livestock in Pakistan. Our Zebu cattle like Red Sindhi and Sahiwal and buffalo breeds like Nili-Ravi and Kundi are world famous dairy breeds which are very well adapted to harsh, hot and humid climate.
Minister said countries like Australia and Brazil have improved our breeds in the name of AFS (Australian Friesian Sahiwal), AMZ (Australian Milking Zebu) and Frieswal which are far higher producer than our indigenous animals. I feel that we should forget the past and move on.
Fakhar Imam said that OFS has provided this opportunity to make a road map to establish effective links between public and private institutions including but not limited to research, academia, practicing farmers and most importantly the decision makers at policy and operational level among the member countries to develop performance audit system both at national and organization level.
He concluded his remarks by saying that the two days long deliberations will come up concrete recommendation for improvement of animal genetic resources and chalk out effective coordination mechanism for implementation of cooperation among the IOFS member countries including Pakistan.