Pakistan is gifted with excellent environmental and social conditions for the production and propagation of livestock and dairy population. The small scale farm owners and domestic farmers make the major part of this sector. The commercial scale farms and rearing has also gained potential in recent years. The sector has grown since the country came into being. The livestock division has shown enormous expansion since the advent of this century, estimated up to 70%, which mainly owes to exploration of new markets in terms of exports. The sector claims almost 9% of total exports of the country. The productivity has also increased with population growth to meet the huge demands of the local market within the country.
According to a recent survey by a leading daily, the national herd comprises of around 56.7 million goats, 24.2 million cattle, 0.8 million camels, 26.3 million buffaloes and 24.9 million sheep. This overwhelming number makes Pakistan, the fourth largest producer of milk in the world, by producing 29.472 million tons of milk every year. These animals produce 0.740 million tons of mutton and 1.115 million tons of beef. The poultry sector also produces over 530 million birds per annum.
The herds kept by landless tribes and families in rural areas cater the needs of a large fraction of our population. According to national statistics, there are over seven million small families that own and rear herds to raise income for their needs. This serves as their core livelihood source, while there are not much employment opportunities or land to grow on. There are numerous projects focusing on this sector to target the poverty alleviation in rural areas. Even for farmers in fertile plains of Pakistan, the flocks of cattle are an added source of income. They also serve as a security in times when the crops suffer due to any natural calamity. Hence, this serves as a tool for economic stability, while adding to gross productivity of the country.
Livestock is a major sector contributing to the growth of Pakistan agricultural production. The sector contributes by adding half of the value added products in agriculture zone. It claims almost 11% of the total GDP which amounts more than the crop production of the country. The ever increasing economic growth and urbanization generate plenty of potential in this field for both producers and investors to fill the gap between supply and demand in the coming years.
It provides raw material for a number of consumer products, both fresh and processed. The productivity in this sector also contributes to the production of fine quality leather products in Pakistan. Most of the hides and skins used in leather industry, come from local market, which are treated and utilized as per need. Roughly 51.2 million hides and skins are provided by the national herd for various purposes. In addition to these, 40.2 thousand tons of wool is also produced which is employed in carpet industry and rug making as well as different clothing items.