LAHORE – The Nestlé Pakistan has planned to train 30,000 dairy farmers in next five years through its training centers established at Nestle Farmhouses with a view to improve milk quality as well as production.

This was observed by Nestle Pakistan Manager Corporate Media Relations & Policy Networking Saira Iftikhar, Regional Milk Collection Manager Syed Naveedul Hassan and Assistant Training Manager Salman Umer while briefing The Nation during a visit to Okara Nestle Farmhouse.

“The farmhouse training centers, including training centre of district Okara, are imparting training to around 2,000 dairy farmers annually, besides educating around 4,500 lady dairy farmers so far,” they observed.

Saira observed that Okara training project, started in July 2007, is providing technical assistance and advice about animal health, breeding and fodder production to female dairy farmers also in Punjab as well as half of Sindh to raise the quality and value of the milk they supply, which in turn boosts the local economy.

She maintained that Nestlé Pakistan has taken a key role in the country’s dairy development and is keen to bring new knowledge into the sector, both to build a better future for farmers and to improve the rural economy.

Regional Milk Collection Manager Syed Naveedul Hassan informed that the training is aimed at helping both small scale producers and large commercial farms to improve milk quality and increase milk production in a country which is seeing a growing demand for milk products.

Naveed explained: “We believe that Pakistan will grow very fast as a milk supplier and it has great potential for development into a leading milk exporter.”

“We hope that, through training, we can help our farmers to turn their herds into profit making ventures by improving farm management, efficiency and dairy animal welfare.

“As well as bringing in a valuable source of income, an increase in quality milk production will also provide a source of employment within communities and a significant boost to the economy, he elaborated. He added that it will also help to uplift the socio economic status of the rural workforce.

Assistant Training Manager of Milk Collection & Dairy Development Salman Umer expressed that the course was designed specifically to cover farm management, milk production, cattle health, nutrition and breeding.

The training is providing an excellent opportunity for farmers to learn from the mature international dairy sector, he said and added that Pakistan has the potential to double its milk production if just a few international good practices can be adopted into local conditions.

“Although the vast majority of our farms are small enterprises, the overall volume of milk produced makes Pakistan the fourth largest producer in the world. Just a 10 per cent rise in yield would make a significant difference, he added.” The participants of training said: “The training offered through Nestle Sarsabz Farm has been very effective in helping us towards this goal. The training programme has been making a strong impact on milk production.”

“This has been a very good experience which has exceeded expectations, stated farmers who were getting training. They added that there is a very keen and supportive culture at Nestle Training Centre which allows us to share experience and knowledge.

“We have seen many things which we can use as a benchmark to help us make improvements in our dairy farm. We have been delighted at the success of this very exciting and worthwhile programme with Nestlé Pakistan.

–SALMAN ABDUHU