Towards the white revolution


Despite the fact that Pakistan is the fourth largest milk producer in the world, the country still lags far behind in realising the full potential of its dairy sector. Conservative estimates indicate that with minor intervention in the sector, Pakistan can easily double its milk production.
A recent survey of some community farms in the Jamal Din Wali, District Rahim Yar Khan, shows that the joint effort of Pakistan Dairy Development Company (PDDC), JDW Sugar Mills and the National Rural Support Program (NRSP) has boosted overall milk production of these farms by over 100 percent.
Chah Kinni – a small village in the southern Punjab – is the first and most successful example of community dairy farming in the country. Figures indicate that before the inception of PDDC, average milk production per animal was around 4.48 litres per day, owing to malnutrition in animals, lack of availability of drinking water and poor farming practices.
However, with minor interventions, these include increasing the supply of green fodder and drinking water, the milk production capacity of these farms has jumped up to 11 litres per day in a relatively shorter period of time. While the economic impact of PDDC interventions in Chah Kinni indicates that now these farmers have some 200 litres of surplus milk available for sale which has virtually changed their lifestyle.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, a community farm President Ameer Khan Sial disclosed that before the initiative of PDDC, Chah Kinni’s total income from milk was around Rs 25,920 to Rs 28,800 per month, which is now touching Rs 228,000 per month. He pointed out that farmer and rural elders were tightly knit through local traditions and it took some six months to convince them that farmers should sell surplus milk in the market.
He highlighted that PDDC experts introduced them aggregate marketing strategy, which resulted in that now they were getting better price for their surplus milk. He disclosed that earlier they were selling their produce to milkmen at throwaway price of Rs 18-20 per litre but now they were getting better price of Rs 38 per litre.
Another community farmer, Ahmad Baksh, underscored that now farmers have more money in their pocket, they had started sending their children to schools. He mentioned that almost 90 percent of the small children were regularly attending schools up to primary standard. However, most people were still reluctant to send their children to educational institutes after class fifth as secondary schools were far away from their houses, he added.
PDDC Team Manager Nadeem Abbas told Pakistan Today that PDDC in collaboration with the largest milk processor, Nestle, had set up a common milk collection facility in the area. For which Nestle had provided a chiller and power generator. In addition, it was paying Rs 6,000 and Rs 2,000 in rent for the shop where these farmers collect their milk.
He said that PDDC did not teach them any rocket science that multiplied their animals milking capacity, but it had imparted them necessary education of dairy farming. He pointed out that milk had over eighty percent water content but farmers were not aware of this fact and were not offering their animals the required amount of drinking water. In addition, PDDC experts informed them the significance of proper nutrition and fencing animals opposed to keeping them tied up.
Available statistics indicate that the country has some five million milking animals, which produce some 35 billion litres of milk per annum. While the figures of PDDC’s community farming initiative suggests that if the community farming idea is replicated all around the country Pakistan could easily double its milk production and unveil the true white revolution.