Islamabad, September 03, 2015 (PPI-OT): The importance of agriculture precedes all other sectors as it produces food, generates employment, provides raw material for industry and is the base for foreign trade. It employs about 42% of country’s labour force, contributes 21% of the GDP and caters for 45% of exports. This was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while addressing the inception workshop of FAO project titled “Pakistan Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards Planning and Training Program”.
The Minister highlighted that during 2014-2015, livestock contributed 56.3% to agricultural value addition. Livestock is the main source of income and nutrition for more than 8 million rural families. The minister underscored major challenges encountered by livestock that include poor nutrition, inefficient marketing infrastructure and rampant livestock diseases plus the added burden of frequent natural calamities.
The Minister reiterated that government is fully aware of risks faced by livestock sector and its subsequent impact on livelihood of poor rural segments. The minister lamented that in 2010-2011 floods, over 100,000 livestock perished and many were sold at low prices. The economic loss to livestock sector was estimated over Rs 350 million.
The Minister mentioned that last decade has been difficult for livestock farmers, as many natural and man-made disasters struck the livestock sector putting livelihood and food security of millions at stake. The minister stressed that preparedness, contingency planning coupled with emergency response can only tackle the current difficult situation.
The minister appreciated the FAO team for timely intervention and pledged his full support. This project is initiated by FAO in partnership with USDA, to train the livestock and other emergency handling officers at national, provincial and district levels for better handling of livestock emergencies.
The LEGS (Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards) is a set of international guidelines and standards for the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of livestock interventions for public assistance. It focuses on the importance of protecting and rebuilding livestock as key livelihood assets in emergency and post emergency situation. Till now, LEGS has trained over 3000 professionals in handling livestock emergencies.
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