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FEATURE STORY January 31, 2022

Improving milk production and its marketing in rural Sindh, Pakistan

World Bank Group


Highlights

  • The project, which ran for five years, ended in May, 2021. Overall milk production increased by 28.4 percent and the project directly contributed to increasing the incomes of milk producers.
  • The SAGP project supported the establishment of 153 Milk Producer Groups (MPG) benefiting 19,908 people—8,145 of them women-- in 10 districts of Sindh.
  • SAGP established 484 livestock management training departments for its beneficiaries, which included both farmers and members of government institutions in charge of trainings, and the project rehabilitated 121 veterinary units. To date, approximately 5753 farmers have benefited from livestock management trainings.

Watch the video above on the Sindh Agriculture Growth Project.

“Since SAGP arrived and trained us, the health of cattle and milk production quantity improved. When our incomes increased, our living standards also improved.” – Said Abdul Aleem Soomro, a beneficiary of the Sindh Agriculture Growth Project.

Thousands of people living in rural Pakistan rely on livestock as a main source of income. However, the lack of proper hygiene and cold storage of milk has hindered the growth of the sector.

The ‘Sindh Agriculture Growth Project’ (SAGP)—which is financed by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s Fund for the poorest countries—is dedicated to supporting the agriculture and livestock sectors in the rural areas of Sindh. SAGP’s livestock sector aimed to improve milk production and better connect small and medium producers to the market.

With assistance from SAGP, farmers are now able to produce more milk that is of better quality. The project also helped connect farmers to by establishing milk producer group (MPG) centers where milk producers can sell milk more easily. Aggregation of production plays an important role in improving market access.

The project, which ran for five years, ended in May, 2021. Overall milk production increased by 28.4 percent and the project directly contributed to increasing the incomes of milk producers.

Milk Chillers to reduce milk waste

The SAGP project supported the establishment of 153 Milk Producer Groups (MPG) benefiting 19,908 people—8,145 of them women-- in 10 districts of Sindh. Those districts were namely Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, Hyderabad, Thatta, Naushehro Feroze, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Umerkot, and Tharparkar.

Every single Milk Producer Group had access to newly-constructed chiller rooms, milk chillers, generators, and milk analyzers.

Using milk chillers prevented milk from being wasted, enabling farmers to extend the life of each batch in Sindh’s hot climate and ensure that their milk survived the long distances to market. According to milk producer Muhammed Makhan, “The major source of income of the people dwelling here depends on livestock. There are no other ways to earn money. No property, no jobs; only these animals! We used to leave early in the morning for the city and return in the evening. The transportation cost was Rs 200. Most of the time our milk used to get stale because of hot weather. Thanks to these chillers, we can sell milk 24 hours a day.”

Another beneficiary named Ghulam Shabbir Jokhio said, “Earlier, the milk that we used to have was always left at the end of the day. Nobody wanted to buy it in the evening. It would go to waste but now the milk goes into chillers and is also sold in the evening.”


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Efficient Marketing System

SAGP has contributed towards the aggregation of farmers. The project has helped to structure the supply chain of milk which contributes to better quality of milk and higher sale income. The system of milk collection has also become more reliable due to the installation of milk chillers, and the project has helped improve market access for small and medium-sized producers, helping them increase revenue from milk production and reduce the extra costs paid to a middle man.

Highlighting the difficulties of rural people, Dr. Ashok Kumar, the senior veterinary officer, said, “People of this village had cattle and milk production, but they never marketed their products well. So, unsurprisingly, there was no sale.” 

Now farmers can sell their milk directly and save time. “In the past, we had to go all the way to the city to sell milk which cost us a lot of money. The profit too was unfavorable. Now we sell milk at Milk Producer Group (MPG) centers very near to our villages at good rates which helps us save money,” said a beneficiary.

Spreading the benefits of better livestock management

The project also improved livestock management among its beneficiary farmers. Implementing three awareness trainings to both male and female farmers for each MPG center, the project raised awareness for best farming practices, cleanliness of animal yards, farm level diagnostic tests, and diseased animal management. A total of 3075 farmers from 20 MGPs benefited from the trainings covering feeds and fodder, animal health management, and animal reproduction, breeding and genetic improvement, including the benefits of artificial insemination and expanded access to ultrasound machines to improve reproduction in livestock.

SAGP established 484 livestock management training departments for its beneficiaries, which included both farmers and members of government institutions in charge of trainings, and the project rehabilitated 121 veterinary units.

To date, approximately 5753 farmers have benefited from livestock management trainings. The 203 Livestock Department staff equipped to deliver trainings will continue to provide extension services during field visits for vaccination and treatments to villages. Moreover, over 100 farmers and the staff of the Livestock Department were trained to implement artificial insemination to contribute to the breed improvement program, and utrasound training was offered to 76 beneficiaries. 18 beneficiaries beneficiaries have had the opportunity to visit state-of-the-art livestock training centers overseas: to Zimbabwe to observe Holistic Land and Livestock Management design and implementation; to Turkey to learn Dairy Farming practices, Dairy Machinery preparation factories; camel farming in the UAE; and Kenya’s established dairy value chain.

SAGP has helped in rescuing the unique traits of the two main breeds of the cows found in Tharparkar district. One is ‘Thari’ and the other is ‘Concrej.’ Regarding this matter, Dr. Ashok Kumar said, “Tharkparkar cattle is losing its original traits by crossing with other breeds. Now we have promoted it through Artificial Insemination.”

An Artificial Insemination Training Center at Tandojam is making a difference in restoring the original traits of Sindh’s native breeds. Dr. Abdullah Sethar, deputy director, said, “This Artificial Insemination Center was developed in August 2019. We started offering Artificial Insemination training here. We have already trained 762 families, veterinarians, paramedics, and breeders in this center.”

Trainings have also helped improved milk production. Previously, cows produced around 4.1 liters of milk and buffaloes produced 5.2 liters. By following the best practices learnt during various trainings, farmers increased the production of milk to 5.1 and 6.9 liters, respectively.

Beneficiary Abdul Aleem Soomro commented on how adopting new techniques resulted in a high milk yield. He said, “Our local cows had low milk yield. A practical demonstration was given to us and we changed our ways of breeding livestock. This has already started creating noticeable results.”

Creating more jobs

The project not only strengthened milk production and its supply chain in the Rural Sindh, but also benefitted people in other ways, by creating jobs in other sectors.

5753 MPG members were able to upgrade their skills through three trainings. Additionally, 40 milk sell points were established by MPG members, with each outlet staffed by three farmers from the center’s local village. Each milk outlet has provided employment opportunities to the local village, as 149 milk technicians are employed to collect and dispatch milk across these MPG collection centers.


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