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Volume 2 Issue 13, October & November, 2013, Editor Zulfiqar Ali, Associate Editor Madeeha Manzoor, Editor Photography Usman Hanif, Publisher: Zulfiqar ALi G-6/4, Islamabad, Pakistan.
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Where art thou gone?: Birds find home elsewhere as Karachi makes space for humans

Karachi has seen a marked decline in the number of birds as they have flown to safer places. Marine birds, such as the ones above, were once found in abundance on the city’s coastline but are now a rare sight because of the industrial waste that has destroyed their habitats. Look up towards the sky at most places in the city and what you will probably find is a skyscraper hiding the face of the sun. Massive commercialisation and over-construction to cater to the needs of the human residents have left no space for other species that used to co-inhabit the city.It is not just the wildlife experts but also the citizens who have felt the decrease in the number of birds that once inhabited every nook and cranny of Karachi. The city of lights was famous for its native birds – the Koel, the vultures, the white-checked bulbul, the ring parakeets that were a pleasant nuisance for the residents.Then there was the Jacana, which was a sight to see as it hopped on dried leaves with its paw-like feet. Older residents also recall frequent sightings of the falcon and the owls in almost every tree in the neighbourhoods. What is rather alarming is the fact that even the more common birds, such as the house crow, house sparrow, common mynah, doves, hoopoes, wheatears, starlings, baya weavers, are largely missing from the rooftops, hanging wires and electricity poles where they once commanded a domineering presence.The city boasts plenty of wetlands and water bodies, such as the Malir and Lyari rivers, which once promised a variety of birds to be viewed around the year. There was a time when one could count 20,000 birds at Do Dariya in a single day. Older residents recall how several varieties of the birds used to plague their homes, trees and electricity poles around the year. In the early 80s, Dr Manzoor Ahmed of Karachi University wrote a paper, titled ‘Birds of Karachi’, which accounted for the different kinds of birds that inhabited the city. Since then, no one has bothered to follow-up on his study or keep an eye on where the birds disappeared to and why. The environmental experts see no natural cause behind the disappearance of birds. WWF-Pakistan’s technical adviser Muhammad Moazzam Khan was of the view that the reason for the disappearance of birds are several, including habitat degradation, lack of attention towards the salvation of wetlands, jungles of exotic plants, growing population and pollution. “Birds have migrated to safer places,” he observed. “They could come back to the city if their habitats are revived.” The city has no shortage of fresh water, he pointed out. “Urban wetlands are being restored across the globe and we need to follow that trend as well,” he advised. “I used to see lines of birds at Mai Kolachi, Mauripur, Hawke’s Bay and other areas of the city,” recalled the deputy commissioner of Sindh wildlife department, Dr Fehmida Firdous. She said that common birds, such as crows and kites, were found everywhere in the city but not those that balanced the eco system. “Our department conducts a birds’ census every year and we have observed a decline in numbers with each passing year.” The changing climate, encroachments, decrease of natural habitats, deforestation and shortage of rainfall are some of the major reasons for the disappearance of birds for Dr Firdous. “We cannot single out any one reason for this disorder,” she said. “Industrial pollution is also a major reason that has adversely affected marine birds. There is no monitoring system on the effluents directed into the sea,” she complained. Meanwhile, senior citizen Haji Abdullah blamed commercialisation to be the sole reason for the decline. “No space is left for the birds. The land and birds are for sale only. Who cares where they have gone?”

Chinese assistance: Work starts on nuclear power plant at Karachi shore, say sources

Spadework has been started on the 1,000 MW nuclear power plant being set up near Hawkes Bay with Chinese assistance, sources said. The plant worth $4 billion will take seven years to start generating power. First payment from the $1 billion allocated in the current budget has been released by the federal government to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to initiate development work on the project. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will inaugurate the project on a later date as part of Karachi Coastal Power Project that involves setting up two nuclear reactors having a production capacity of 1,000MW each. The sources said that the centre has also earmarked funds for setting up a nuclear power plant in Punjab with Chinese assistance. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has set a target of establishing nuclear power plants capable of producing 8,800 MW of electricity by the year 2030, most likely with Chinese assistance, the sources said.

 

 

 

 

Livestock sector plays important role

Livestock NutritionConference” started at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore. Planning and Development Board Punjab Chairman Muhammad Irfan Elahi formally inaugurated the conference which has been arranged by the UVAS in collaboration with the NutritionistsAssociation of Pakistan.  Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development Punjab Dr Sajid Yoousfani, Nutritionists Association of Pakistan President Dr Mussaddiq Asif and Nestle Pakistan President Syed Yawar Ali were also present. Presenting the welcome address, the Vice-Chacellor said that the conference comprises total eight sessions including five technical sessions on dairy nutrition, feed resources and manufacturing technology, beef nutrition, buffalo nutritionand nutrition of small ruminantsHe said that 122 papers were received, 29 papers have been selected for oral presentation in the technical sessions whereas 70 papers will be displayed at the poster exhibition. He said that livestock sector plays an important role in the rural economy by supplementing family income and generating gainful employment in the rural population, particularly among the landless, small and marginal farmers and women. Prof Pasha stressed on improving per unit animal productivity and moving from subsistence to market-oriented and the commercial livestock farming to meet the domestic demand and the surplus for the export.  He said that it is need of hour to use livestock sector as an engine foeconomic growth and foodsecurity leading to rural population empowerment and socio-economic development.  The Vice-Chancellor said that a two-tiered action plan is required: to develop systems, which provide profitability for the smallholder and maintain quality through the supply chain, while assisting the development of larger scale commercial farms. “Positioning smallholder livestock development as an instrument to rural poverty reduction and improved food security andnutrition,” he added.  Being Flagship University in these disciplines, the UVAS has fully realized the needs of the sectors and initiated degree programs, trainings, research projects, technology centers and services to meet the challenges of growing industries, farming communities and stake holders.  P&D Board Punjab Chairman Irfan Elahi said that the government is taking initiatives to boostnational economy through strengthening existing livestock health and productivity, milk andmeat processing and marketing.  “We need not only to produce high quality professionals in every discipline but also to adopt modern methodologies and techniques to keep pace with the scientific developments,” he said.  Secretary Livestock Dr Sajid Yoousfani said that low productivity of animals was the major problem of livestock sector, which needs to be addressed by the on priority basis. He hoped that the conference will make fruitful recommendations for the solution of field problems. Dr Mussaddiq Asif and Syed Yawar Ali also spoke on the occasion. Later in three technical sessions, local and foreign experts spoke about various aspects of nutrition for efficient livestock productivity, dairy nutrition and feed resources and manufacturing technology. The conference will continue today.

CID to probe theft of animals from zoo

Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Owais Muzzafar tasked the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police to probe the matter of missing and stolen animals from the Karachi Zoological Gardens. Taking strict cognizance of the reports about missing animals from Karachi Zoo, Owais Muzzafar constituted a committee under the supervision of SP Chaudhry Aslam of CID to probe the matter of missing and stolen animals from the zoo, said a handout issued here. The committee has been given one week time to submit report in this regard. The minister asked the SP CID to bring to justice the elements responsible behind the stealing of animals form the zoo, saying that the Karachi Zoological Gardens should be considered as a national level asset and the present provincial government would do its best to protect this asset for public utility and providing recreational facilities to the city dwellers. He also asked the administrator of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to provide due civic, amenity and other facilities at the Karachi Zoo.

 

 

 

Role of women in promotion of modern farm sector practices highlighted

Women farmers are playing a vital role in promotion of modern practices in the agriculture sector. This sector will help combat food insecurity and malnutrition affecting 58 percent of the population. It was the crux of a one-day seminar titled "improving female farmers skills to enhance food production" arranged by the Department of Rural Sociology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad at New Senate Hall. The programme was chaired by UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan.
The four-day UAF Rabi festival was opened on Thursday with a seminar aimed at increasing awareness among farmers regarding latest agricultural techniques to boost productivity. More than 200 rural women farmers from Okara, Faisalabad and other parts of province participated.
Progressive Farmer Rukhsana Zafar was the chief guest while Department Chairman Professor Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Maann, Dr Fawad Ahmad, Naveed Farah, Agricultural Development Bank Agri Officer Kanwal Mukhtar, Dr Rashid Waseem, Dr Yaqeeb, Dr Izhar Ahmad Khan and other speakers also shared their views on the occasion. The Vice Chancellor said the nation cannot be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with men. The agriculture is directly linked with poverty and hunger alleviation in which women are rendering remarkable services. He lauded the role of women farmers in progress as they are not only looking after their children and other domestic affairs but also standing side by side with men in the agriculture fields.
He said that Punjab has rich culture and traditions that must be promoted at the university level. He was of the view that the country is facing many threats including food security, depleting natural resources etc. In this scenario, expedited efforts, on the part of all stakeholders, are prerequisites to fight crises. He said the UAF in collaboration with ICDD had launched a project under which five hens are being given to every farmer to increase their income.
Rukhsana Zafar said that women farmers can increase their income manifold by applying modern agriculture practices. The increased production will not only help them but also facilitate the county to ensure food security. She said that more than a large number of population is associated with the agri sector. Replacement of traditional agricultural methods with modern practices will boost production manifold. Professor Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Maann said that without the contribution of women, the goal of progress and prosperity cannot be achieved.
He said that women are serving society in a remarkable way. Kanwal Mukhatar said that Agricultural Development Bank is offering loans to the farming community at their doorstep. She said that Bank is offering many types of agri loan to benefit farmers who constitute 68 percent of population. Dr Fawad Ahmad told audience about poultry and ways to maintain the poultry at farms or at domestic levels. He said that as many 1.5 million of people are associated with commercial poultry industry. He also told the audience about small-level farming at home or at small farms. Courtesy Business Recorder

Canadian HC inaugurates solar irrigation plant

A solar irrigation plant was inaugurated by Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Greg Giokas on Thursday in Khushpur village situated in the Faisalabad district. Khushpur village comprises of a total area of 2000 acres of agricultural land, of which until now 45 percent has been arid and salty due to the lack of water supply.
The Canadian high commissioner was accompanied by Denis Chouinard, Counsellor Trade and Political, Attiya Hidayat, from the Canadian High Commission, and hosted by Dr Paul Jacob Bhatti, former minister of National Harmony and Chairman of Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust (SBMT), All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).
Dr Paul Jacob Bhatti speaking on the occasion said that this solar irrigation project has been supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada. He further said that Canada Fund for Local Initiatives has funded this project through the Shahbaz Bhatti Memorial Trust for the people of Khushpur to support their agriculture.
He further said that solar irrigation project will bring significant changes in the lives of the people of Khushpur, empowering them through providing a sustainable income with the production of crops and dairy, on land that was once arid and now will become fertile. Courtesy Business Recorder

 

International Livestock Nutrition Conference begins at UVAS

The fourth “International Livestock Nutrition Conference” started at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore on Wednesday. Planning and Development Board Punjab Chairman Muhammad Irfan Elahi formally inaugurated the conference which has been arranged by the UVAS in collaboration with the Nutritionists Association of Pakistan.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development Punjab Dr Sajid Yoousfani, Nutritionists Association of Pakistan President Dr Mussaddiq Asif and Nestle Pakistan President Syed Yawar Ali were also present. Presenting the welcome address, the Vice-Chacellor said that the conference comprises total eight sessions including five technical sessions on dairy nutrition, feed resources and manufacturing technology, beef nutrition, buffalo nutrition and nutrition of small ruminants.
He said that 122 papers were received, 29 papers have been selected for oral presentation in the technical sessions whereas 70 papers will be displayed at the poster exhibition. He said that livestock sector plays an important role in the rural economy by supplementing family income and generating gainful employment in the rural population, particularly among the landless, small and marginal farmers and women.
Prof Pasha stressed on improving per unit animal productivity and moving from subsistence to market-oriented and the commercial livestock farming to meet the domestic demand and the surplus for the export. He said that it is need of hour to use livestock sector as an engine for economic growth and food security leading to rural population empowerment and socio-economic development.
The Vice-Chancellor said that a two-tiered action plan is required: to develop systems, which provide profitability for the smallholder and maintain quality through the supply chain, while assisting the development of larger scale commercial farms. “Positioning smallholder livestock development as an instrument to rural poverty reduction and improved food security and nutrition,” he added.
Being Flagship University in these disciplines, the UVAS has fully realized the needs of the sectors and initiated degree programs, trainings, research projects, technology centers and services to meet the challenges of growing industries, farming communities and stake holders.
P&D Board Punjab Chairman Irfan Elahi said that the government is taking initiatives to boost national economy through strengthening existing livestock health and productivity, milk and meat processing and marketing. “We need not only to produce high quality professionals in every discipline but also to adopt modern methodologies and techniques to keep pace with the scientific developments,” he said.
Secretary Livestock Dr Sajid Yoousfani said that low productivity of animals was the major proplem of livestock sector, which needs to be addressed by the on priority basis. He hoped that the conference will make fruitfull recommendations for the solution of field pronblems. Dr Mussaddiq Asif and Syed Yawar Ali also spoke on the occasion. Later in three technical sessions, local and foreign experts spoke about various aspects of nutrition for efficient livestock productivity, dairy nutrition and feed resources and manufacturing technology. The conference will continue today.

Seafood exports surge by $85.2 million

Pakistan's seafood export surged by $85.202 million or over 34 percent during July-September period of the current fiscal year for a better global demand, exporters said on Tuesday. The country exported $85.202 million in July-September period of the current fiscal year as compared to the commodity's export of $63.422 million in the same period of last fiscal year, showing a rise of $21.78 million or 34.34 percent, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
In terms of volume, the seafood export went up to 36,273 metric tons in July-September period of the current fiscal year from 27,174 metric tons in the same period of last fiscal year, growing by 9 099 metric tons or 33.8 percent, say the PBS. Courtesy Business Recorder

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharp decline in catch threatens lobsters export

Lobsters might vanish completely from the list of the country’s exports within a few years as their catch has declined sharply, experts and individuals associated with the seafood industry told Dawn on Saturday.
The government exchequer, they said, was suffering losses because lobsters, like fish and shrimps, were caught indiscriminately throughout the year in violation of the law.
“The overwhelming fishing pressures especially in their breeding season coupled with their slow growth have led to a significant decline in their catch,” said Mohammad Moazzam Khan, former director of the marine fisheries department currently working as a technical adviser on marine resources with the World Wide Fund for Nature.
According to Mr Khan, the total quantity of lobster catch ranged from 3,000 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes per year four decades ago. However, the annual catch now is not more than 1,200 tonnes.
“Every single boat in those days used to have a catch between 300kg and 400kg in a trip. Today, the number of fishing boats has increased significantly and the catch has dropped to a level where a fisherman is considered lucky if he manages to catch 8kg to 10kg of lobsters,” he said.
Regarding the species’ breeding, he said: “Lobsters breed from October to May. March-April is the peak breeding season. A mature female produces about 600,000 eggs in a season but the larval phases are a bit complicated.”
Highly prized as seafood in many parts of the world where fishing of this species is strictly regulated to promote sustainability, lobsters have little consumption value in Pakistan and 95 per cent of the catch is exported. Though China is generally mentioned as the sole buyer of lobsters, earlier exports were also made to Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and France.
Lobsters are harvested along the entire coastline, mainly along the rocky patches. Important fishing grounds in Sindh are: Buleji, Neelum Point to Cape Monz, Goth Mubarak and Bhit Khori.
Lobster fishing grounds in Balochistan include Khalifa Point, Churna Island, Ras Malan, Ormara, Taq, Sakoni, Astola Island, Ras Zarrin, Shumal Bundar, Gwadar, Pushukan, Ganz, Daran and Jiwani.
According to Mr Khan, 17 lobster species are found in Pakistan. Of them only six have commercial value. They are: painted spiny lobster (Panulirus versicolor), scalloped spiny lobster (Panulirus homarus), mud spiny lobster (Panulirus polyphagus), ornate spiny lobster (Panulirus ornatus), pronghorn spiny lobster (Panulirus penicillatus) and flathead lobster (Thenusorientalis). The catch consists of about 45 per cent of mud spiny lobster, 35pc scalloped spiny lobster, 15pc ornate spiny lobster, 4pc flathead lobster and 1pc painted spiny lobster.
Although fished all year round, good quality lobsters are usually caught in March, April and May and in the last three months of the year.
Ban on fishing berried lobsters
The practice of indiscriminate fishing of lobsters is being carried out in violation of the Exclusive Fishery Zone (Regulation of Fishing) Rules, 1990, under which there is provision for protection of berried female. “Female lobsters loaded with eggs (berried lobsters), or lobsters of 15 centimeters or under length shall not be fished and if any such lobster is caught, it shall be immediately released back into the sea alive and shall not be landed or marketed. For the purpose of this rule, the length of the lobster shall be measured from the middle of the curve between orbital spines to the tip of telson,” it says.
Commenting on the situation, Mr Khan said: “In addition, the use of mono-filament gillnets especially along the Balochistan coast has seriously affected the population of lobsters. Fishermen of some coastal towns are adamantly using such nets in shallow waters, particularly along the rocky shores,” he said.
Giving his opinion, former chairman of the Pakistan Seafood Industries Association Tariq Ikram said that 80pc of lobster stocks had depleted in the country, which was unfortunate as Pakistan had good marine conditions for different lobster species.
“From Sir Creek to Sonmiani, the sea floor profile is sandy but it turns rocky from Sonmiani onward,” he said, adding that lobster exports were now nominal.
On lobster processing, he said three to four decades back the practice was to remove the lobster head, freeze its tail and send it abroad. Later, the whole lobster was used to be cooked and exported. Now, the trend was more of exporting live lobsters.
Sabir Ali, a Jiwani-based inspector of the Balochistan Fisheries Department, said: “Its catch has declined but this is true of fish species, too. Lobster is much bigger in Iran where it is caught only for 40 days in a year. A lobster weighing over 500 grams is sold to the middleman for Rs1,300 per kg and those under 500gm for Rs500 per kg here.”
Information gathered from experts showed that the lobster processing business was being carried out on a small scale along the coast.
A visit to one such facility involved in exports of live lobsters showed that the catch was released into a tank containing marine water for a day after being brought here from different areas. Then it was kept in chilled water for some time that made the metabolism process of the species very slow.
“It gets unconscious but survives. Later, the catch is graded and transferred to thermocol boxes containing an ice bottle and sent to its destination,” Asghar Ali, owner of a lobster processing unit in Kakkapir Village in the Sandspit area said.
Asghar’s unit is being supported by the Sindh fisheries department that helped him install a water filter and provided free assistance on how to increase production.
“There is a marked drop in mortalities after we installed a water filter and started monitoring the salinity and nitrogen levels of water,” he said.

Equine Welfare in Pakistan

A meeting was called by The Brooke at the Beach Luxury hotel today to address equine welfare concerns in Pakistan. The objective of the meeting was to form working groups on advocacy and legislation that would contribute towards a better environment for horses, donkeys and mules. The participants included relevant stakeholders from private organisations as well as government officials. The Brooke is an international organisation whose motto is “healthy working animals for the world’s poorest communities”. They reach up to 3,90,000 horses, donkeys and mules across 26 districts of Pakistan. They also work in partnerships with the government as well as with other NGOs to ensure best use of existing infrastructure and local knowledge. Of the estimated 4.7 million equines in Pakistan, The Brooke hope to benefit with the help of partners 0.25 million equines by 2014.Pakistan Animal Welfare Society co-founders Maheen Zia and Mahera Omar attended the meeting and volunteered to join the advocacy group. Compassion towards animals must be inculcated in society, especially amongst children, so they grow up to be sensitive towards the needs of all sentient beings.

 

 

 

Steps to control diseases from animals to humans

PARC in collaboration with National Institute of Health (NIH) and other national and international partners have organised a day-long "National One Health Symposium" at National Agricultural Research Centre. The event was organised to compliment the activities of Regional Epidemiology and Biosecurity Training Programme in South Asia being implemented in Pakistan through the financial and technical assistance from World Bank and Massey University New Zealand. The aim of this symposium was to share outcomes of the existing project, understand global OHHP for future collaborative investigations between Animal and Public Health institutes in the area of zoonoses within the country as well as in the SAARC region. Chairman PARC Dr Iftikhar Ahmad on the occasion appreciated the role of Massey University, FAO, World Bank and other national and international partners to reduce the burden of animal diseases in Pakistan. He stressed the policy makers and scientists to think and take necessary steps for integrated efforts to control transmission of diseases from animal to human. He said in northern areas and other parts of the country people and animal are connecting with each other. The precious species of animals play an important role in changing the life of the communities. He highlighted the mismanagement issues and given an example of the effect of use of pesticides in crops on human health. He said proper measures and training should be given to the communities to save their precious animal species from killing. On this occasion, Dr Eric Neumann, One Health Programme Director, Massey University, New Zealand given a detailed presentation and highlighted broaden objectives of the programme. He said bacteria, transmitted to human through contact with birthing fluids and milk from infected cattle, sheep and goat. Infected animals are the only source of infection. He also appraised about the Hubnet one health network. Dr Azeem Khan, Director General, NARC in this welcome address said that this symposium will provide a good forum to the participants.  from public health and animal health sectors to devise appropriate strategies for working together for the control of major diseases of our times such as TB, Rabies, Bird Flue, Congo fever and many others in the country. Dr Khalid Naeem, Project Coordinator (One Health Pakistan) and Deputy Director General (NARC) said the concept of One Health was basically coined during the early days of bird flue, when it was realised that most of the emerging human diseases transmitted from animals can be better understood if they are investigated under the joint umbrella of human-animal-environment, later labeled as One Health. This was eventually taken forward in 2011 by the international agencies WHO-FAO-OIE. Under this category to date 124 diseases have been labeled as zoonotic diseases, for which special disease control measures need to be developed wherein joint efforts of public health, animal health and environment departments would be required.

A serious threat to cattle farming

The livestock sector is undergoing rapid changes in response to pressures from globalisation and rapidly growing demand for animal food products in developing countries. This sector is one of the organised and vibrant segments of agriculture industry of Pakistan having enormous contribution in GDP. One of the diseases affecting health and production of livestock is Blackleg. It is a bacterial disease affecting young thriving animals from 3 months to 2 years of age more commonly. Blackleg is the cause of severe financial losses to cattle raisers in many parts of the world including countries of south Asia especially tropical areas of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The disease appears in the form of lameness in one or more legs, a pronounced swelling with characteristic crepitating sound. For the most part major outbreaks are prevented by vaccination although outbreaks still occur occasionally in vaccinated herds of cattle incompletely vaccinated. Keeping in view the significance of this disease and its impact on cattle health and economics of the farmers the present study was designed to address the key features related to this particular disease which were never studied before. Seven hundred and fifty cows from six districts were selected randomly and sampling of disease suspected animals was done throughout the year.
The results showed that highest number of positive cases were observed in district Muzaffargarh (4.8%) and Bhakkar (4%) followed by Rahim Yar Khan (1.6%), Layyah (1.6%) and Nankana Sahib (0.8%) respectively. Similarly seasonal variation in the occurrence of this disease was one of the notable features in this study. Highest number of cases of this disease appeared in district Layyah (42.2%) and Muzaffargarh (44.4%) during the months of May to August while in district Rahim yar khan  maximum number of cases appeared during the months of January to April (15.5%).
This epidemiological investigation clearly indicated the risk population and the areas which need to be monitored for eradication of this disease. The results of this experiment were quite shocking indicating variable hemolytic ability to red blood cells of various species.Black quarter can be fatal to the dairy or meat farmers stock especially to the calves up to the age of one year. Therefore proper diagnostic approaches like PCR and precautionary measures if adopted can be helpful in avoiding huge economic loss. A well grown, disease free and healthy heifer is actually a good investment to produce more milk, increased production life with more calves thereby helping towards food security in the country.

 

Pakistan can lead milk market if it controls animal diseases

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.

Egg Prices Soar as Temperature Drops

Egg prices continue to soar with the onset of winter. Currently, one dozen eggs are being sold for 118 rupees (PKR) in the wholesale market, while in retail shops the price ranges between PKR122 and PKR125 per dozen.
A week ago, eggs were sold at the rate of PKR88 per dozen but in a span of seven days, egg prices soared by PKR30 in the wholesale market and PKR34 to PKR37 at retail shops. Similarly, restaurants are selling boiled eggs for PKR16 against PKR15 and a fried eggs for PKR20 against PKR16.
Rawalpindi Egg Wholesale Dealers Association General Secretary Amjad Abbasi said that egg prices have increased because of a wide gap between supply and demand in the winter season. He said that eggs are not locally produced and all poultry farms are located in far-off areas.
“We bear huge transportation charges to bring eggs to Rawalpindi and Islamabad. We cannot maintain supply of eggs in the winter season and sometimes we have to bear their shortage in the peak winter season, therefore, their price is continuously rising,” he added.
Talking to The News, people belonging to different walks of life said that every year wholesale dealers increase rates of egg by 100 per cent. The majority of families eat eggs for breakfast, particularly in the winter season but due to high prices, the majority of the population cannot afford it, they said.
Muhammad Bashir, a citizen, said, “A week back, I purchased one dozen eggs for PKR88. But on Wednesday, eggs were being sold for PKR122 per dozen, as price magistrates are totally unmoved against profiteers,” he said.
Shamsa Kanwal, a housewife, allegedly said that the government has snatched everything, particularly food items, from the common man. “I cannot afford to buy eggs for my child due to high prices,” she said.
Additional District Collector General (ADGC) Muhammad Ali Randhawa admitted that prices of eggs are continuously soaring at retail shops. He told The News that they were visiting markets for taking strict action against profiteers to control price hike