Pakistan has signed MoU with China to establish FMD free zone for livestock, Food Minister tells CICA event
ISLAMABAD, Sep. 16 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistan has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese government for the establishment of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) free zone with vaccination in the country for livestock, Federal Minister for National Food and Security Syed Fakhar Imam told a multilateral conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Addressing a Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building measures in Asia (CICA) on food security in the Asian continent, Syed Fakhar Imam said that he believed that CICA had provided a platform for policy and operational technical workforce to discuss the formidable challenges to food security in the region.
The minister mentioned that the present government had already focused on livestock to ensure food security and alleviate poverty particularly from rural settings.
“To this end, Pakistan has planned to improve animal genetic production potential through artificial insemination and to meet the SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) requirements. We have approved national disease surveillance and control system and also piloting animal identification and traceability system on limited scale. I am sure we will hit the target in due course of time and Pakistan will be one of those countries who are meeting the international requirements for exporting animal products to high-end markets as well,” he elaborated.
Imam informed the participants that Pakistan had signed an MoU with the Chinese government to establish FMD free zone with vaccination in the country.
“This FMD free zone can open up additional high-end markets for the export of livestock and livestock products around the world which would be big incentives for our farmers to produce more, not only to meet our local requirement but also to produce surplus for regional countries and beyond,” he maintained.
Sharing details, Imam stated that the national herd of food animals of Pakistan consisted of 49.6 million heads of cattle, 41.2 million buffaloes, 31.2 million sheep, 78.2 million goats and 1.1 million camels.
“There are respectively 5, 12, 28 and 25 breeds of buffalo, cattle, sheep and goat in Pakistan. A Fairly good number of the breeds of camel, horse, ass, mules and yak do add to the genetic diversity of livestock in Pakistan. Our Zebu cattle like Red Sindhi and Sahiwal and buffalo breeds like Nili-Ravi and Kundi are world famous dairy breeds which are very well adapted to harsh, hot and humid climate,” he observed.
The minister said countries like Australia and Brazil had “improved our breeds in the name of AFS (Australian Friesian Sahiwal), AMZ (Australian Milking Zebu) and Frieswal which are far higher producers than our indigenous animals. I feel that we should forget the past and move on.”
Fakhar Imam acknowledged that the discussion had provided the opportunity to make a road map to establish effective links between public and private institutions including but not limited to research, academia, practicing farmers and most importantly the decision makers at policy and operational level among the member countries to develop performance audit system both at the national and the organization level.
He appreciated CICA’s efforts in chalking out effective coordination mechanism for implementation of cooperation among the Asian countries.