PESHAWAR: In a bid to boost the production of milk and meat in the province, the livestock department of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has decided to import 150 Saanen goats by November.
“Saanen breed originates from Switzerland and famous for high yield of milk and meat compared,” K-P Livestock Department Director General Research Dr Mirza Ali Khan said.
Named after Saanental in the Bernese Oberland, in the southern part of the Canton of Bern, in western Switzerland, these goats, he said, are also found in abundance in Holland, Austria, Turkey and China.
“We plan to import Saanen goats from these countries by November this year,” he said, adding that a state-of-the-art model farm had also been constructed at Charbagh, Swat for the better up-keep of the imported goats.
The DG further said that they were in talks with the Commissioner Animals Husbandry in Islamabad to secure a No Objection Certificate (NOC) required for the import of these goats. Advertisements will also be floated on newspapers after the attainment of NOC, he added.
“Initially, we will import 150 Saanen goats to examine its adaptability to the local environment, as well as its milk productivity,” he said, adding that any country that will quote the lowest price will be preferred.
He explained that compared to local breeds, milk productivity of Saanen goats stands three times higher. “If a local goat produces one liter milk in a single time, they give four liters of milk during the same period,” Dr Mirza noted.
The countries where these goats are imported often cross-breed them with local goats and produce a sub-breed to multiply the numbers.
“Certainly, the import of Rambule sheep 10 years ago was very successful as it increased production of meat and milk in the province,” Dr Mirza said.
In the same manner, Saanen goats would also significantly add to the overall meat and milk production of the province, he hoped.
Three mega projects
Mirza said that budgetary allocations for three mega projects of livestock department were included in this year’s provincial budget. These projects include establishing veterinary research and diagnostic centers in Bannu, Karak, Lakki Marwat and Torghar and genetic characterisation of cattle project in Peshawar. The work on these projects is expected to start early next year.
“All these projects would be completed in three years, whereas work on genetic characterisation of cattle in K-P would commence this year after the approval of PC-1 designed for the project,” he explained.
The director general said an extensive research on prevention of various cattle diseases was underway at the Poultry Research Institute in Manshera.
Dr Mirza said that in order to unleash the true potential of the livestock sector, the government needs to invest in equipment for the research department, larger budget, capacity building for veterinary doctors, strengthening of teachers at veterinary universities and proper service structures for those working for the betterment of livestock and poultry sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2017.