This year (2017), we noticed a stinging acceleration in the prices of certain agricultural commodities like Onion (from the June until now) and tomato (September to date) in Pakistan. During the same period, such products remained at the lowest prices in India. The higher prices of these commodities in Pakistan were because of the closure of the Durand Line, the weathering extremities, and the higher demand for those items.
The Farmer in India & Afghanistan and the consumer in Pakistan
One can see interesting but annoying pictures throughout in the region on the internet. In India, the farmer throwing the tomato and onion on the roads as a show of anger, while the people in Pakistan are struggling to manage tomato and onion for family use.
Interestingly, when the prices of tomato were low in Pakistan, that time the prices were high in India and the same was for the onion. I just gave the example of 2 products otherwise there are many examples.
The Root Cause of the Problem
The farmers are not the part of the policy-making process. They are out of the decision making forums. The policies are driven by the people whom interest lies in the wars and conflicts. On both sides of the border, the policy-making is in the hand of powerful establishments to keep the tension alive and strengthen their vested interests.
For the establishment, the troubled relationship is a better source of income but the masses suffer. As a personal experience, I the establishment wants to weaken the farmers to grab their land and other resources. Usually, such people when retired from their jobs, start the business of the real estate and buy the lands from the farmer and change into the concrete jungle.
The Solution, if any?
A strong and influential voice of the farmers on the both side can mak the change.
Dr. Sajjad Khan is a well-known scientist and currently working as Prf. and Dean faculty of Animal Husbandry, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad Pakistan.
National goat show concluded here at Faisalabad (Pakistan) last evening on 21st October. It was very well attended the show as 663 animals competed for various beauty, weight and milk competitions. Beauty competitions were breed wise. Individual (male or female), pairs (breeding male and a breeding female) and flock (five adult females + 1 breeding male) competitions were held apart from goat kid beauty competition which was across breeds.
Represented breeds were various strains of Beetal (Faisalabadi, Makhi-Cheeni, Nuqri and Nagri strains), Nachi-the dancing goat (Boora, Sawa, Makra and Bulahi strains) and Diara Din Panah (Kala and Shera strains). Single strains of Barbari, Pak-Angora, and Teddy breeds also competed. While beauty competitions were within, weight and milk competitions were across breeds. Breeders and goat keepers competed for cash prizes, trophies and certificates and just for fun. The show was supported by my University, GEF-UNEP-ILRI FAnGR Asia project and the Directorate of Small Ruminants, Government of Punjab.
Animals started arriving on 18th and 90% had reached by 19th. Animals from the host district arrived on 20thmorning as well. As some had taken a 10-hours journey, rest was needed especially for milking goats. Competitions continued till late into the evening on 20th. The goat kid competition, held for the first time (to promote goat as a pet) was conducted on 21st, the day for prizes and trophies. Some 50 goat kids competed and were paraded (actually allowed to move around for about a minute) before young boys and girls (between 5-8 years of age) who were our no-card guests/visitors and had even helped farmers in handling goats during flock competitions.
Some 50 were randomly selected from about 90+ boys and girls present. We had 50 red ribbons to be worn to the goat kids. Every kid was individually explained to not follow his/her friends or parents (some had come) for making his/her choice, rather his/her own likeness. While farmers kept sitting with their goat kids, judges (boys and girls) marched in front from one side to the other and selected their champion. Some had done it while animal science students (girls) were tagging the goat kids in the start, while others did it on the spot. Nuqri goat kid won the first position with 7 ribbons followed by Makhi-Cheeni and Barbari goat kids. It is worth mentioning that many goat kids were purchased by the local residents’ price ranging between 80 and 400 USD/animal at the end of the goat show.
Highest weight was 179kg of a Beetal (Faisalabadi) buck while highest milk yield was of a Beetal Makhi-Cheeni goat producing 4 liters of milk on a voluntary intake as owners were not allowed to offer anything and competing goats remained in the custody of organizing committee before the beginning of emptying of udders till the last milking. Similar restrictions were imposed in weight competition. This was not a kidding season for goats because in our March competition last year, amount of milk by the winning goat was around 8 liters.
The most deficient information seemed to be scoring the dancing gait of Nachi goats while a lot of indigenous knowledge (apart from the typical nose and longer neck, foot sole was desirable to be visible while animal walks, as narrated by a Nachi farmer) awaits documentation. Love for this breed could be judged talking to a 70-year-old farmer who had raised this breed since he was 10. I hope to learn from him and similarly knowledgeable farmers in future.
The show was telecasted live by at least five television channels. Introduction of Nagri strain of Beetal was the pleasant surprise for technocrats and so was the introduction of a colored strain of Diara Din Panah (Shera strain) which was even more attractive than the traditional black strain. Bucks with their cock screw longhorns, massive bodies (~100kg) and long hair really gave a dangerous look (as a friend called them terrorists). New strains of Nachi were also worth watching. It looks we need to redefine breeds to incorporate farmers standards and available. Information available in booklets on various breeds looks quite distant from reality.
Best animal of the show was a DDP buck (black strain). The best breeder was Mr. Nazir Masih with exceptionally good animals (1st in milk competition, 1st in flock beauty competition for MCB breed and 1st in individual female beauty competition in MCB breed).
As always it was a very pleasant and rewarding to organize and conduct a goat show. Interaction and exchange of ideas with farmers is an asset. Few photos are attached. More photos with video clips will soon be posted at project website (http://fangrpk.org/).
Habitat: The major habitat of the breed is the central Brahvi land. The nucleus areas are Kalat, Mastun, Khuzdar, Wadh and Awaran. The tribe of the breed is Maingul.
Phenotypic characteristics: The sheep is medium in size with coarse wool, black and white body coat. The head of the sheep is usually black. The ears are long and droopy.
Vegetation: Vegetation of the habitat much like by Mangeli sheep is comprised of Saba, Sargharri, Hawe, Gorkha and Kashum.
Population: The population of the breed is a bit hard to compile because of the scattered nature of the breed in a wide area. Moreover the estimation on the basis of the breeders and flock size the estimated population of the breed 1 Million. This breed shrink in size because of two reasons, the First reason of the shrinking was the drought (red spot of the climate change); this breed was severely affected like Dumeri sheep. The second reason is the high financial return of orchard farming of apple and Cherry in the region. Because of the drought and other social changes, many breeders shifted towards orchard farming. Though the number of the breeders decreased the breed is again increasing in size due to high consumer demand for its products.
v Good thriftiness nature, high compensatory growth
v Good ability to graze in the small area
v Good scavenger animal, also fit for grazing on the waste of the city
v High milk producer under the low input production system.
v High meat yield and a reasonable growth rate
Capable of grazing of the highlands of the region (highly adapted to the landscape)
Strong link to the sheep culture with Maingul tribe
Precious part of the Balochi culture
High consumer demand for the special flavor of the milk
Economic importance: The breed is highly thrifty and produces more meat per unit feed consumption compare to other breeds of the region. The male animal at the age of 2-3 years is used for Landi purpose Persenda~Dry Meat Cousine of Pashtun Afghan and catches very good prices. Mangeli is one of the best milk producers in the province or may be in the region. The lambs of the breed can be used for feedlot system to produce more and healthy meat. The male at the age of 3 years attains a weight of 80 kg. The lambs are usually slaughtered at the age of 3 years for Landi purpose. The breed is an important source of livelihood earning and the prices are very high for Mangeli sheep in the province. The rate of a Mangeli ewe is almost Rs. 12,000 and that of a male with 3 years of age ranges to a price of Rs. 20,000.
Habitat: Found in Musakhail district of northeastern Balochistan and the main tribe of the breed is Musakhail as indicated by the name. Moreover, the breed is also raised by Marghzani, Zamri and Issot and Jaffar tribes of Musakhail district.
Phenotypic characteristics: The breed is larger in size compared to Bybrik sheep breed. The tail is wide and a bit long (called as hanging tail), therefore, accumulate more fats. The head of the sheep is larger and wider. The wool is shorter in length like that of Bybrik. This breed is more attractive for the trader because of its meat demand.
The distinctive characteristics of the breed are long hair in the base of the horn. Spotted ears, black spots on wool and skin on the rump area, are the prominent feature of the breed.
Vegetation: Vegetation highly like by Musakhaili sheep is comprised of Khuriasa, Ozi, Viza, Paha, Saba, Zangi, Barawa and Barvaza etc. The vegetation is different in different season and topography.
Population: The population size of the breed is almost 2.9 million and the trend is increasing.
Can climb on high mountains and consume the inaccessible vegetation
Get more weight in short duration and fill the tail with fats very fastly, hence can resist the dry period
Good response to stall feeding and grains offer
The wool is thin in density (Khalaswargi) and is good to resist high temperature
Consume bushy vegetation when there is scarcity of grasses
Economic Importance: The breed is not only raise for family subsistence. The breed has very high economic returns by selling male animals at the age of 8 months. The animal has high trader preference and mostly reaches to the market of Iran and even Middle East. The local consumers like the meat and use this breed for the persenda making (Landi)Persenda~Dry Meat Cousine of Pashtun Afghan, The crop reaches early in the market because of the early breeding season. The milk of the breed is not use for family needs but allow to the lambs. The wool has no higher economic importance and is mainly send to the market of Punjab province and is usually use in the carpet industry.