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IMPROVING MILK PRODUCTION AND ITS MARKETING IN RURAL SINDH, PAKISTAN

Thousands of people living in rural Pakistan rely on livestock as a main source of income. However, the lack of proper hygiene and cold storage of milk has hindered the growth of the sector. The ‘Sindh Agriculture Growth Project’ (SAGP)—which is financed by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s Fund for the poorest countries, is dedicated to supporting the agriculture and livestock sectors in the rural areas of Sindh. SAGP’s livestock sector aimed to improve milk production and better connect small and medium producers to the market. With assistance from SAGP, farmers are now able to produce more milk that is of better quality. The project also helped connect farmers to by establishing milk producer group (MPG) centers where milk producers can sell milk more easily. Aggregation of production plays an important role in improving market access. The five years project ended in May, 2021. Overall milk production increased by 28.4% and the project directly contributed to increasing the incomes of milk producers. The SAGP project supported the establishment of 153 Milk Producer Groups (MPG) benefiting 19,908 people—8,145 of them women– in 10 districts of Sindh. Those districts were namely Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, Hyderabad, Thatta, Naushehro Feroze, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Umerkot, and Tharparkar. Every single Milk Producer Group had access to newly-constructed chiller rooms, milk chillers, generators, and milk analyzers. Using milk chillers prevented milk from being wasted, enabling farmers to extend the life of each batch in Sindh’s hot climate and ensure that their milk survived the long distances to market. SAGP established 484 livestock management training departments for its beneficiaries, which included both farmers and members of government institutions in charge of trainings, and the project rehabilitated 121 veterinary units. To date, approximately 5753 farmers have benefited from livestock management trainings.