Milk production and processing is the most important component in livestock sector in Pakistan. The value of milk alone exceeds the combined value of wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane. The milk in Pakistan is predominantly produced under four different production system namely Rural Subsistence Smallholdings, Rural Market Oriented Small –holdings, Rural Commercial Farms and Periurban/ Urban Dairying. The overall animal herd is thinly spread across thousand of square kilometers with and average of 3-5 animal per house hold and more than 40 million people in the rural area are engaged in livestock raising. Out of total milk produced, 97 % is marketed in informal sector (loose milk consumed in the villages and/or sold in the cities through”Gawallaws” is unhygienic conditions and without any quality standards). Since more than 90% of milk is produced by small holders, its collection and processing faces a major challenge. The dairy sector operates mostly in the informal way and needs and consistent assistance to organize itself to be able to contribute better in the national economy.
Pakistan is endowed with a large livestock population well adapted to the local environmental conditions. According to livestock census (2006), food animals consist of 27.33 million buffaloes, 29.56 million cattle, 53.75 million goats, 26.49 million sheep and 0.9 millions camels. Dairy animals are cattle (Red Sindhi, Sahiwal , Cholistani and crossbred) and buffalo and cattle is low due to non availability of superior germplasm, limited feed resources and inefficient disease control. Demand for milk and dairy products is increasing at a high pace due to population growth, urbanization and increase in per capital income.
The performance of an animal is a result of contribution of genetic and environmental factors and their interactions. The environmental contribution is formed by feeding, better health services and climatic influences. However, the impact of these efforts reverts back when these inputs are discontinued. Contrarily genetic contribution is permanent in nature and passes generation after generation. There are many ways for the genetic improvement of milk production is selection of genetically superior males through progeny testing program as it is well known fact that ‘bull is half the herd’. In the progeny testing program semen of candidate bulls is used for inseminating the animals. The female calves, thus born, are raised and their first lactation milk production is recorded at farmer’s doorstep for ten months. Milk production data thus generated is analyzed using specialized computer software to compute the breeding values. Based on this analysis, the bulls having daughters with higher mil production breeding values are declared as positive proven bulls. The semen of such bull is extensively used through AI network for disseminating the genetic improvement in general population on mass scale. In this way, one is sure that proven bull’s daughter’s milk production will be higher as compared to their dams’ milk production in general population on mass scale. In this way, one is sure that proven bull’s daughters’ milk production will be higher as compared to their dams mill production in general and thus genetic improvement of animals is the real service to poor farmers for poverty alleviation on sustainable basis.