Research and innovation are key to transforming the livestock sector and realizing its potential in Pakistan, said the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) livestock policy specialist Khawar Parvez Awan. He expressed these views while presenting a proposed ‘Livestock Action Plan’ for Sindh during a public consultation workshop organized by the FAO and Sindh Livestock and Fisheries Department to validate the plan under the Sindh Agriculture Policy 2018-30.

Awan told that breed improvements and a preventive approach to animal health and disease management could increase profits. Besides, FAO policy officer Genevieve Hussain pointed out that in Pakistan, the livestock sector was particularly important from a nutritional perspective.

“Fresh milk, meat and eggs are part of the traditional diets of most communities of Sindh, but the poor often cannot afford them or they are not prioritized in household budgets,” she elaborated.

“A ready supply of quality animal protein can make balanced diet possible, in turn providing the population with sufficient vitamins and minerals for better health.”

Sindh livestock and fisheries department secretary Aijaz Ahmed Mahesar maintained that the Sindh government was keen to create an efficient, prosperous and resilient food production sector through the Sindh Agriculture Policy to be able to provide good incomes and decent employment for those working in the livestock and related sectors.

“For the effective implementation of a good Livestock Action Plan, both, public and privately sourced investments will be critical, will enable the sector to meet the demand for its products at the national and international level,” he added. The participants of the workshops discussed the Livestock Action Plan draft.

The participants belonged to research, commercial and non-profit sectors. Later this year, the plan will be presented before the Sindh Agriculture Policy Implementation Commission for approval.

The FAO Pakistan, through the European Union-assisted Food Security and Nutrition Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST) programme, is seeking to deepen the dialogue between different sectors with a stake in the food system.

It has also collaborated with the Sindh livestock and fisheries department to launch a vaccination programme in Sanghar, under which 50,000 cattle will be vaccinated against foot and mouth diseases and 35,000 goats and sheep will be administered medicine as defense against intestinal worms.