Balochistan is the largest province of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that constitutes around 44% of the geographical land of Pakistan. The people are traditional in their practices and still use conventional techniques, methods and centuries-old professions for living, in interior parts of the province. Animal husbandry is one of the oldest and most successful profession for the people but unfortunately, it is only restricted to the rural areas of Balochistan. However, the recent trend and development is also stimulating the seeds of growth in this sector.
The geographical and climatic conditions of Balochistan are deemed as the most appropriate habitation for livestock breeding. Most of the land of the province constitutes rangelands with only 5% of the land being arable. Furthermore, the livestock of the province provides 20% of national stock despite its small manufacturing capacity and underdeveloped infrastructure. According to the report of Pakistan Veterinary Journal, Balochistan is the cradle of many important livestock breeds and livestock makes an important part of the socio-cultural and socio-economic survival of its inhabitants.
Moreover, the biodiversity of animal genetic resources plays a very pivotal role in the economy of the province and each breed has its own uniqueness and socioeconomic importance, consisting of many species that are perfectly adapted to geographical features and climatic settings. The advancement of livestock in Balochistan will yield revenues, employment and development of massive industries and thus, will result in overall improvement of the economy of Pakistan.
The consumers of the livestock industry include leather, carpet weaving and pharmaceutical industries. Balochistan sustains the demand for carpet and leather industries by supplying hide and wool. Furthermore, the household demand for milk and meat is also met with these resources. The livestock industry of Balochistan is indirectly related to 70 % of the population but the poor infrastructure, lack of awareness, inadequate technological barriers and non-availability of proper veterinary services are creating hindrances in the development of this sector.
It is the utter need of time to realize the gigantic potential of livestock in Balochistan, as it can help in producing cost-efficient production models with very small input. The gradual improvement and research in this industry have started with the perspective of breeding goals. Moreover, the strong animal culture and the tradition of each tribe to have their own individual grazing lands and their own unique livestock production system gives Balochistan a competitive advantage over other provinces.
The federal and provincial government can enhance the productivity and revenue generation from the livestock industry by appropriate policies, necessary education and farmers’ empowerment. Modern husbandry practices and organized farming activity can yield more output with very less energy input. Additionally, the poor marketing system and extension services can be improved to enhance the vertical linkages of small-scale producers to increase sales, which will further depict the potential of this industry in Balochistan.