Turning Back to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

Turning Back to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

The catastrophes of climate change along with growing desertification consequence in the adoption of new strategies. The industrialized nation’s choice is mitigation strategy while among the native livestock keepers’ adaptation is the best tactic. Unfortunately, the so-called policymakers (at all levels) are not as much in tune (with the above-said challenges) as the rural indigenous people of the bush are. These sensible livestock keepers know how to materialize livestock agriculture sustainably as; to satisfy the versatile requirements of the owner/community and ensure their own life whereas depending on available natural resources.20151009_172921

Factory Farming is Failing

The so pseudo-green revolution (1960s era) was actually a trick of capitalism to provide an immature solution (factory farming) to increase productivity but contrary it resulted in erosion/dilution of the precious native animal genetic resources and depletion of soil fertility. Coincidentally, nature reacts after each specific period and shed all the unkind things attach to it; intensive farming is failing in many ways.

A Case Study from Northeastern Balochistan – Cattle Pastoralism

In the months of September, and October (2015), I visited the rural areas of northeastern Balochistan. I sniffed a very positive change, the wise decision of the community elders; turning back to the native cattle. Many small-scale farmers have adopted native cattle (Kohe-Suleimani/Lohani/Kakari®) to better utilize free available natural resources and ensure sustainable production.

Suleimani/Lohani/Kakari (one breed but many names)

The lovely Kakari cows mostly depend on the bushes, especially Sarghasie (abundantly available bush in the region) which is otherwise useless. Some wise farmers narrated “native cow is the best weed regulator” as she restricts the weeds/bushes to creep in the cropping lands. She is the best converter of bushes into food items and high-fibrous manure.20151012_101537

The dung produced by the cattle provides a soft and fluffy texture to the soil, making it apt for cropping. Cow manure is highly preferred for wheat, tomato, cauliflower, almond, and apricot agriculture. Sometimes, the dung used in construction material is added to the mud plaster.

Qualitative traits of the Kohe Suleimani Cattle

The native cow is unique as;

  1. Grows well under the ordinary grazing systme
  2. Catches high consumer demand, especially at Eid-Adha festival
  3. Resistant to disease/parasites
  4. Adapted to the local ecosystems and resisitant to bother extremes of temperature (+40 and _20)
  5. The easy management making it the best choice as a farm animal
  6. Highly prolific, give birth each year without any humen intervention
  7. Nevertheless producing little milk (2-3 liter per day with a shorter lactation length of 8 months) but the milk is rich with fats and highly desired in the region
  8. The most effecient biologica machine, best in the conversion of poor quality roughages into precious milk and meat
  9. The yummy, creamy and appetizing milk makes it super cow than the exotic one.

Valued Milk Products – A woman’s asset

Its milk is esteemed as beautifying skin and treats febrile conditions. The special taste of ghuarri (a Pashtu word used for ghee) produced from its milk is highly anticipated. Pashtuns’ folk poetry is rich with the appreciation of the precious ghuarri. The surplus ghuarri is sold by the women and the income is purely owned by them. Now a day, the prices for ghuarri are too high and attract bulky Pakistani rupees. Hey! The native genes empower the women, they told.


Valuable Meat and an Attraction for Eid-Adha

The steer catches reasonable prices on the occasion of Eid-Adha, is highly preferred by locals, and suits well to a common customer. A slightly pinkish color beef (not too red) has a special desire and high organoleptic scoring. It is an approachable selection for low-income groups during the Eid-Adha and other religious/cultural occasions. A native keeper whispered that it takes a little time to cook, making a good selection for women.20151011_161325

Traditional Cattle Husbandry

The strategies adopted by the native/indigenous people are highly useful to guarantee sustainable farming systems under climate change scenarios. Their knowledge is based on centuries-long experience and evolved with natural phenomena; making it the treasurable heritage of humanity. Unfortunately, their contents are never asked while making policy regarding livestock agriculture both at national and international levels. It would be so great if native livestock keepers are involved in policy-making to ensure sustainable and ecological farming.20151011_161444

For further reading;

  1. http://dry-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/091220_potential_of_livestock_breeds_of_Baluchistan_final_.pdf
  2. http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/CGRFA_LIFE_sideevent_kakar.pdf
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216121092_Prospects_of_Livestock_Production_in_Balochistan

®Native livestock Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are very diverse in many ways, having different names in different regions, many colors, sizes, and purposes, etc.

2 thoughts on “Turning Back to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future”

  1. Pingback: Occupy Gene Banks and Ensure Livelihood and Biodiversity – Animal Genetic Resources, the Camel, Food Security and the Climate Change

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