ISLAMABAD (Online) - US Animal Health Attaché Dr David Ashford says Pakistan can lead the milk producing market around the globe if it succeeds in controlling Foot-and-Mouth disease.
In an interview with Radio Pakistan Haroon Baloch‚ David Ashford said 35 to 50 percent of all animals are exposed to the Foot-and-Mouth disease virus by the time they reach one-year of age.
He said the number is high‚ which is why the United States is dedicated to help Pakistan control this disease.
He said milk is an important source of food not only in Pakistan‚ but also in rest of the world. However‚ presence of foot-and-mouth disease in Pakistan prohibits its exports.
Referring to the recent livestock studies done in the country‚ he suggested a single buffalo affected by FMD virus costs the farmer over eighteen thousand rupees for six months of milk production.
He stressed the need to a national program in place to control the disease that would include a strong veterinary service‚ effective national vaccination‚ animal movement control with inspection and certification of vaccination.
US Department of Agriculture with assistance of Food and Agriculture Organization and Government of Pakistan has set up essential diagnostic capacities to confirm FMD infection in public laboratories in all provinces.
Currently‚ Pakistan is the fourth largest milk producer in the world despite the limited productions and lacking value-added facilities.
According to Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13‚ contribution of livestock sector to agriculture value-added is over 55 percent and to the Gross Domestic Product is 11.9 percent. Widely considered as the economic engine of the country s economy‚ the sector has a huge potential to grow and only safe and standardized milk production of the country may improve the rankings among other milk producers in the world.