Faisalabad

 large number of indigenous breeds have become extinct for the last many years and the existence of further 32% is at risk due to crossbreeding, disclosed a ceremony. The concerns were expressed by UAF VC Dr Iqrar Ahmad while addressing the participants of indigenous chicken distribution ceremony. It was organised by Department of Animal Breeding & Genetics under a joint programme of UNEP, GEF, ILRI and UAF to conduct research on development and application of decision support tools to conserve and sustainably use genetic diversity in indigenous livestock & wild relatives.He emphasised to conserve the indigenous chicken as like organic food, many people were ready to prefer and pay for indigenous eggs and chicken meat. He underscored the need to revive the rural poultry that would help alleviate poverty and unemployment in the rural settings of the country. Dr Khan expressed his dismay over the disappearance of indigenous poultry, and hoped that under the project, distribution of indigenous chicken amongst rural families would pave the way to sustain and revive the rural poultry that will regain its past glory shortly.He praised the provision of $5.7 million by the donors to execute the project by four institutions i.e. University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Bangladesh Agricultural University, University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka, and National Institute of Animal Husbandry, Vietnam to secure and improve livelihoods of poor livestock keepers through utilisation and conservation of indigenous Farm Animals and Genetic Resources.Addressing the gathering, National Coordinator of the project and Chairman Department of Animal Breeding & Genetics Dr Sajjad Khan gave briefing on the objectives, target species, expected outputs of the project. He said that from Hasilpur and Faisalabad, three villages from each district had been selected by random sampling and later from each village, 50 households were earmarked to give them a set of 4 hens and one cock with a condition to keep the parents and return back the first batch of offspring’s so that other needy families may also take benefit and cascade effects may alleviate poverty.