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A success story in small dairy farming   
By Munawar Hasan

RAHIMYAR Khan, May 02, 2011: Ancestor of Ameer Khan Sial, a small dairy farmer of a remote village of Rahim Yar Khan, never sold milk despite having milking animals.

But lately, they have got acquainted with cost effective and simple measures of developing community farms and thus have been able to almost double milk production in a short span of time. Now, after convincing their elders, they are selling milk to a processor and are earning thousands of rupees, thanks to continuous efforts made by Dairy Pakistan with collaboration of Jahangir Khan Tareen, local member national assembly.

Ameer Khan, who lives in Basti Sial of Tehsil Sadiqabad, is also president of community based organization of 30 small dairy farmers. During a visit of area a few days back, he told a group of journalists that people of area were not willing to be part of community dairy development project because they did not like to sell milk. "Milk is a gift of God and should not be sell at any cost," he quoted his elders as having said.

However, when we learned that milk shortage was increasing day by day with surging demand we started taking interest in increasing milk production. In the meantime, Dairy Pakistan, a company established by federal government started survey of area in 2008 for initiating Community Dairy Development Project. Foreign experts along with local team comprising young people contacted dairy farmers of Basti Sial to be part of this project.

 


They were asked to be part of programme and enhance milk production with simple steps. Dairy Pakistan asked us to untie animals and provide round the clock access to water. Beside other tips, he said, they discouraged use of wheat straw with fresh fodder. They also provided us opportunity to directly contact buyer of milk for getting better price. At that moment, Ameer Khan observed, when our milk production started to increase we sought permission of our elders to sell surplus milk, arguing that people in urban areas had no animals and thus were facing acute shortage of milk. Finally, our elders allowed us to sell milk on commercial basis. It was a virtual change in our norms or you can say in belief.

Now, in about two years, he blissfully said, we have 100 liters daily surplus milk production as we almost doubled per animal production of milk with the help of Dairy Pakistan.

 

Similar was outcome of CBO established in Chah Kinni village which is located approximately 3km west of the Karachi - Lahore - Peshawar Road in District Rahimyar Khan. Chah Kinni is a remarkable example of what can be achieved with vision, leadership and 'hands on' practical work by skilled, trained and committed staff.

As a socio-economic view of village after intervention made by Dairy Pakistan, Nadeem Abbas, district team leader said, villagers under CBO managed to sell their milk at Rs 38 per liter instead of Rs 18. The next step was to increase milk production per animal for this we commenced an ambitious programme of shed and fence construction so that the animals could be untied, provided with good shelter from the extreme weather and most importantly, given free access to water 24 hours a day. This led to an increase in production to 11 liters per day per animal.

The early reports from Chah Kinni estimated that farmers were making a loss of Rs1800 per household per month due to high cost of production against relatively less price of milk. Doubling of dairy incomes was made possible in a very short period as not only number of animals increased to 229 from 150 and average milk production was increased from 4.48 liter per animal to 11 liters. Earlier, dairy farmers were earning Rs 28,800 per month from milk selling and now after getting guidance from Dairy Pakistan they have succeeded in earning Rs 228.000.

The programme has produced many other success stories in different parts of the country. Five such farms are currently being run in Rahim Yar Khan out of total 49 farms. Severe shortage of funds has led to slow down activities of this important project. Now, Jahangir Khan Tareen has decided to provide funds from his own pocket for setting up 30 such farms in Rahimyar Khan District in next three years.

The Community Farms Programme is a major part of Dairy Pakistan interventions in the dairying sector throughout Pakistan and is aimed specifically at poverty alleviation in the many poor rural communities throughout the country. Under this programme, farmers are assisted in silage making, storing milk in chillers and setting up bio gas plants.

Unlike most programmes the Community Farms Programme does not 'give' materials or material assistance to farmers - it is a programme based entirely on sustainable self help with training, guidance and leadership from a team of Community Farm Advisors in the field. The team of advisors will normally consist of a veterinarian, an agronomist, an animal nutritionist, and a social mobiliser.

Community Dairy Farm project is part of Dairy Pakistan, which was established in late 2005 under an initiative taken by the then Minister for Industries, Jahangir Khan Tareen. It was primarily mandated to work with small livestock owners to bring a quantum change in dairy management.

 

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