LAHORE - The Punjab Livestock and Dairy Department and USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP) on Thursday launched the ‘livestock herd book’ initiative to preserve and promote local cattle breeds.

The first of its kind, the initiative will help to raise and regulate breeding standards that will in turn result in yield improvements in Punjab’s livestock sector. Among those attended launch ceremony were USAID’s Provincial Director Lea Swanson, Extension of Livestock and Dairy Development Director General Dr Ghulam Muhammad Gill, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, USAID PEEP Chief of Party Muhammad Junaid, as well as farmers and representatives of different livestock associations.

“I would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Department to improve sector performance by engaging the private sector in policy and regulatory reforms that will raise standards, yields, and ultimately livestock sector income. I also commend the efforts of Punjab’s livestock breeders associations for promoting and preserving their local breeds,” remarked USAID’s Provincial Director Lea Swanson.

With assistance from USAID PEEP, the Sahiwal Cattle Breeders’ Society has developed the herd book, registering 60 herds of local Sahiwal cattle from three districts of central Punjab and documenting the characteristics and performance of the 300 milking cattle that constitute the 60 herds. Maintaining accurate records will not only inform provincial breed improvement standards developed by the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Department, the records also will serve as an indicator enabling the farmers to realise higher prices for their cattle.

USAID PEEP is also providing support to seven other livestock breeders associations along similar lines. These include buffalo, goat, sheep and cattle breeders’ societies from different districts of Punjab.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Extension of Livestock and Dairy Development Director General said, “Our partnership with USAID will not only allow the Punjab government to effectively regulate the livestock sector but will also benefit the livestock farmers by improving the milk and meat yields of local breeds.” USAID’s PEEP is a five-year initiative to enhance private sector-led growth in the livestock, dairy, and horticulture sub-sectors of Punjab through policy reform advocacy as well as human and institutional capacity development.