A five-member delegation from the Saarc Agriculture Centre Dhaka, Bangladesh, visited the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore on Monday and discussed with Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha and livestock experts the ways to develop high-yielding dairy buffaloes in Saarc countries.

The delegation comprised Dr Muhammad Nure Alam Siddiky (delegation head) and Dr Talukder Nurun Nahar from Bangladesh, Bhola Shankar Shrestha from Nepal, Dr Dhan Bdr Rai from Bhgutan and Dr Sunil Juwana Hannadige from Sri Lanka.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha briefed the delegation on the livestock sector of Pakistan and the role of the university in its development. He said that in Pakistan, a two-tiered action plan is required in dairy farming: to develop systems, which provide profitability for the smallholder and maintain quality through the supply chain, and at the same time assist the development of larger-scale commercial farms.

 He said that Pakistan is the second largest buffalo-holding and fourth largest milk-producing country in the world. He spoke about the milk production system in Pakistan comprising Rural Subsistence Farmers, rural market-oriented farmers, rural commercial farms, peri-urban commercial farms and corporate dairy farms. He also listed major challenges at producer level and marketing chain i.e. low productivity, low access to input services, disease challenges, weak link to market and low sale price, lack of trained professionals, lack of high yielding dairy cows, high input costs, fragmented farm base and quality control.

Former Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Manzoor Ahmad, who is an expert in artificial insemination and reproduction, gave a presentation on “production and rearing of buffalo breeding bulls.” He stressed on the availability of disease-free semen from progeny-tested bulls to have high-yielding buffalo breeds. He also spoke about three stages of production of progeny-tested bulls and their importance in ensuring the best breed buffalo population.

Dean Faculty of Life Sciences Business Management Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad gave a comprehensive presentation on “why buffalo reproduction is slow?” He said that primary reasons of low reproduction of dairy animals especially buffaloes is compromised nutrition, management, socio-economics and awareness.

Dr Nure Alam Siddiky said that their visit to Pakistan was to observe successful buffalo farming in Pakistan, to share Nilli-Ravi progeny-tested semen from Pakistan to other Saarc countries and to share experiences through visits to livestock institutions and farms.