LAHORE: The livestock department has allocated Rs450 million as subsidy for cattle farmers under its two schemes of Save the Calves and Fattening Feedlot for the year 2021-22.

Registration for the both the schemes, launched in November 2019, will start next month for the next financial year. Forty thousand calves will be registered in each scheme aimed at increasing beef production by saving infant calves and encouraging livestock owners to feed the calves better.

Under Save the (Buffalo) Calves project, the farmers will be given a subsidy of Rs6,500 for rearing each male calf below one month of age for four months. Under the Feedlot Fattening scheme, the farmers have to rear each buffalo calf of at least one year of age to earn Rs4,000 per calf as subsidy for three months.

The project also plans to improve the capacity of the department’s technical staff and the farmers for management of beef farming.

For the year 2019-20, the target for Save the Calves had been achieved 100pc and the fattening project 75pc.

Experts say buffalo meat is in high demand in the country because it is 32pc lower cholesterol levels and 55pc lower calories level than the cow meat while it has higher protein, minerals and vitamins levels. However, farmers usually avoid feeding and rearing male calves and sell them within the first few months of their birth to save feed costs. If taken care of for one year, calves may help overcome the meat shortage in the country as a 20kg calf may gain 700 grams weight per day or over 200 kg per year by rearing on proper feed.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2021

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