LAHORE: The Punjab Livestock and Dairy Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP) on Thursday launched the ‘livestock herd book’ initiative to preserve and promote local cattle breeds.
The initiative is the first of its kind and is aimed at raising and regulating breeding standards which will, in turn, result in an improvement of Punjab’s livestock sector’s yields.
USAID’s Provincial Director Lea Swanson, Extension of Livestock and Dairy Development Director General Dr Ghulam Muhammad Gill, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Vice-Chancellor Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, PEEP chief of party Muhammad Junaid, as well as farmers and representatives of different livestock associations attended the launch ceremony of the initiative.
Speaking at the occasion, Lea Swanson remarked, “I would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Department to improve the performance of the livestock sector. I also commend the efforts of Punjab’s livestock breeders associations for promoting and preserving their local breeds.”
With assistance from USAID PEEP, the Sahiwal cattle breeders’ society has developed the herd book, registering 60 herds of local Sahiwal cattle from three districts of Central Punjab and documenting the characteristics and performance of the 300 milking cattle that constitute the 60 herds. Maintaining accurate records will not only inform provincial breed improvement standards developed by the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Department, the records will also serve as an indicator enabling the farmers to realise higher prices for their cattle.
USAID PEEP is also providing support to seven other livestock breeders associations along similar lines. These include buffalo, goat, sheep and cattle breeders’ societies from different districts of Punjab.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Gulam Muhammad Gill said: “Our partnership with USAID will not only allow the Punjab Government to effectively regulate the livestock sector but will also benefit the livestock farmers by improving the milk and meat yields of local breeds.”
USAID PEEP is a five-year initiative to enhance private sector-led growth in the livestock, dairy and horticulture sub-sectors of Punjab through policy reform advocacy as well as human and institutional capacity development.