ISLAMABAD: The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says Pakistan is among the three countries in Asia and Pacific region which are the world’s top dairy producing countries.
The total value of Asian dairy production exceeded $110 billion in 2013, and figured in the three top commodities in the region in terms of gross value of production. While the dairy production in Pakistan, India and China largely meet domestic consumption, Australia and New Zealand produce a surplus, FAO says on the occasion of World Milk Day being celebrated on June 1 (Thursday).
According to latest figures published in Pakistan Economic Survey 2016-17, milk production in the country is on the increase and during the current fiscal year the gross production of milk was estimated to be 56,080,000 tonnes.
FAO warned that while dairy has big potential, the sector needs to be more sustainable and competitive in Asia and Pacific region. This means helping smallholder farmers gain greater access to markets and services and develop successful dairy business models to increase domestic production.
The aim is to create a sector, which is socially responsible and produces safe and healthy food making more efficient use of the natural resources and reduces the effects on the environment. Only by doing so, will the sector become more sustainable for the benefit of future generations. FAO remains committed to working with all stakeholders to achieve a dairy sector that contributes to health and prosperity of the world.
An Asia Pacific Regional Audit done by the International Osteoporosis Foundation has concluded that the average dietary calcium intake in Asia is well below the FAO-WHO recommendation of 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams per day and most Asian countries have seen a two-to-three fold increase in the incidence of hip fractures during the past 30 years.
In order to facilitate dairy farmers, duty free import of calf milk replacer and cattle feed premix was allowed. During the current fiscal year, 310.2 metric tonnes of calf milk replacer and 298.9 metric tons of cattle feed premix was imported.
Last December, the Royal Friesland Company acquired 51 per cent of Engro Foods Pakistan, which was one of the largest private sector foreign direct investments in Pakistan’s dairy sector, amounting to $450 million.
Under the new deal and 2020 strategy arrangements, Engro Foods will aim for higher milk quality, variety of milk packages and products and farmers’ capacity building leading to a reduction in poverty.
In addition, regulatory duties to the tune of 25pc have been imposed on the import of skimmed milk powder and whey powder. This is to attract further investments in the dairy sector along with protecting small dairy farmers.
Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2017