ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is the world’s third largest milk producer but the country is still struggling to modernize its dairy industry. This vital sector needs serious government attention to increase output and to catch up with other dairy farming nations.
Talking to WealthPK, Supply Chain Manager of Gourmet Foods Pakistan Kashif Ali said Pakistan was still far behind in adopting the latest technology. If modern techniques are used to increase production of milk and other products, our dairy sector can meet the local and international market demands, he added.
“A major challenge facing our dairy farmers is the low milking output of their animals. Moreover, the milk is of poor quality and unsafe. Lack of access to high-quality milk is a result of unplanned and uncontrolled urbanisation, a decline in the number of healthy animals, and high operating costs,” he explained.
Kashif Ali said 95 percent of the milk was sold unprocessed, while just 5 percent [of milk] was pasteurised and packed following the industry-mandated quality control and assurance tests. Additionally, he said, farmers consume between 30 and 40 percent of the milk, while almost the same quantity [of the milk] is squandered due to a lack of supply chain.
The dairy industry contributes the most to the agricultural value chain (60.6 percent of agriculture GDP) and is a significant player in the national economy (11.7 percent of GDP). 3.1% of foreign exchange revenues come from the dairy industry. In addition, 30–40% livestock producing families rely on it for their income.
“It is possible to take steps to enhance the amount of milk flowing through the formal supply chain, reduce waste and adulteration, and boost production of dairy products with added value like powdered milk, which also helps to address seasonal milk shortages,” Kashif Ali continued.
“Pakistani consumers will have access to safe and nutrient-rich milk and dairy products for better dietary intake if the formal dairy industry is encouraged to process more milk into value-added goods,” he added.
Owing to inappropriate handling and storage, about 15% of all milk produced is wasted. Implementing and enforcing pasteurization requirements by the provinces is crucial to promoting dairy processing and reducing milk loss. The productivity is also affected by limited access to vaccines and veterinary extension services.
By conducting awareness campaigns on the negative effects of raw adulterated milk and positive effects of pasteurized and UHT (Ultra-high temperature) treated milk, people can be encouraged to drink pasteurized and UHT treated milk. The federal and provincial governments must continuously work to implement such awareness initiatives across a variety of platforms.
Developing the dairy sector will not only contribute to the growth of Pakistan’s agricultural economy, but also ensure the health of its people.
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