The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are helping Pakistani livestock farmers to improve productivity of the sector which is a source of income and nutrition for more than 8 million rural families.
Both FAO and USDA have undertaken a project titled “Pakistan Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards Planning and Training Program” to train the livestock and other emergency handling officers at national, provincial and district levels.
Agriculture contributes about 21 percent to Pakistan’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) and has a 45 percent share in the overall exports. Livestock contributes about 56.3 percent to agriculture value addition.
Poorly trained in handling emergency situation in case of natural calamities such as floods leads to death of tens of thousands of livestock – cows, buffalos, goats and sheep — every year.
Speaking at the inception workshop of the project, Pakistan’s Food Minister Sikandar Khan Bosan underscored challenges faced during frequent natural calamities, in addition to losses caused by inefficient marketing infrastructure and rampant livestock diseases.
Pakistan’s most devastated floods in 2010-2011 killed more than 100,000 livestock, causing losses of an estimated over $33 million.
The Minister mentioned pointed out that the past decade had been the most difficult period for livestock sector in Pakistan, which was repeatedly struck by several natural disasters and suffered huge losses due to bad planning and policies.
He expressed the hope that the project will help Pakistani farmers to prepare for such situations in future, saving livelihood of millions of people.
The LEGS (Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards) is a set of international guidelines and standards for the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of livestock interventions for public assistance.
It focuses on the importance of protecting and rebuilding livestock as key livelihood assets in emergency and post emergency situation. Till now, LEGS has trained over 3000 professionals in handling livestock emergencies.