Livestock Research for Rural Development 18 (1) 2006 Guidelines to authors LRRD News

Citation of this paper

Livestock farming in peri-urban areas of Faisalabad, Pakistan

M Moaeen-ud-Din and M E Babar

Department of Livestock Production, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore


Recently the authorities in many cities of the Punjab have expelled animals from the urban areas to keep the cities clean and solve the sewerage problem. This step has changed the milk production system in urban localities and has put more pressure in pre-urban animal production system by increasing the concentration of animals in suburb localities. This concentration has definitely affected the available animal feed resource maximum and other related aspects viz., marketing, management and social set up. Keeping in view all these burning issues a survey project was designed to study impact of animal concentration on milk production cost, constraints, problems and shortcomings faced by small, medium and large animal raisers engaged in milk production. Twenty eight farmers (38.3%) ranked in small class while 31and 16 farmers (43.3% and 18.3%) were medium and large respectively.

Results showed that the main purpose of keeping animals was to generate income to meet the day-to-day expenditures. Out of 75 farmers, 33 farmers (44%) preferred to sell milk as opposed to 42 farmers (56%) who did not prefer to sell milk. Only 5.37% kept animals for honor; the second highest percentage of farmers kept livestock solely for home consumption. The percentage of buffalo in the total herd size was 35.1% which was more than other species in the herd while percentage of cattle was 29.3%. The second important animal contributing towards the total herd size was goat (25.8%) due to better financial return within short time period as compared to the other animals. Buffalo was the preferred dairy animal due to greater milk yields and higher fat contents. Preference for cattle was very low that is only 13%. The overall average of number of dairy animals was 1.8, 5 and 8.4 dairy animals in small, medium and large class respectively. Most of the farmers kept Sahiwal cattle for milk production. The small farmers groups were producing less milk as compared to others. The average milk consumption for domestic needs was 50% of total milk produced. Mostly farmer sell the milk to Dhodi (middle man), village shops and teashop to meet daily household expenditures.

Livestock production can only be improved by improvement of livestock in the rural masses by proper feeding, management and effective disease control programs.

Key words: Buffaloes, dairy, herd size, peri-urban, Sahiwal, structure


Agriculture is the largest sector of economy in Pakistan contributing 25% of GDP and employing 51% of the labor, while livestock and dairy contribute 43% to the agricultural GDP which is more than that shared by major crops. That the livestock sector is an important component of Pakistan's economy is evident from the fact that the value of milk produced alone exceeds the combined value of wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane crops in the country (Anon 2000). It has been estimated that 2.58 million households with an average of 6-7 members of family size are engaged in livestock businesses. It means that 17.6 million people are involved in livestock keeping. Of this number 52% (9.15 million) are male and 48% (8.48) million are female workers (Niaz 1997). It is important to note that there are 49% land holdings less than 3 acres and fragmented (Anon 1993).

The present production level of livestock is quite low and inadequate allocation of both development and non-development funds to this sector by the government and scarcity of suitably trained of manpower are some of its major constraints (Ullah 1998).

Recently the authorities in many cities of the Punjab have expelled animals from the urban areas to keep the cities clean and solve the sewerage problem. This step has changed the livestock production system in urban localities and has put more pressure on peri-urban animal production system by increasing the concentration of animals in suburb localities. This concentration has definitely affected the available animal feed resource and other related aspects viz. marketing, management and social setup. Keeping in view all these burning issues, a survey project was designed and conducted to study the herd structure, milk production cost, constraints, problems and shortcoming faced by small, medium and large animal raisers engaged in livestock production. The main objectives of this study were to arrange farmers in different categories according to their herd size mainly based on dairy animal numbers in peri-urban areas; to investigate the economics of milk production which is the main product from the animals they are keeping; consumption and marketing system of milk; to identify the major constraints and problems faced by farmers and to examine the response of farmers to new innovations, disease control and management programs.

Materials and Methods

To evaluate the herd structure and its impact on benefit cost ratio a survey was conducted of 75 farmers engaged in livestock farming and milk production in the area of Chak No. 218 RB, Awan-Baloch and its surroundings. This area is located 15 km west of Faisalabad city where different classes of farmers existed. Although this area did not represent the whole peri-urban area but activities in other localities of Faisalabad are quite similar to this selected site. The area has got a paved road with public and private transportation facilities. Canal as well as ground water systems are available in the area. Partial grazing and sole grazing systems are in vogue. Most of the farmers belong to the small land holding group and are engaged in mixed farming systems.

Farmers residing in the survey area were stratified by criteria based on number of adult dairy animals in the herd with consideration that it affected the ultimate level of farm production. Classes were: 1) small, from 1-3 animals, 2) medium having 4-6 animals and 3) large scale having more than 7 animals. From the selected area, 75 households were randomly selected and interviewed. Ang the data these farmers were divided into 3 groups according to above mentioned criteria representing class 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The randomly selected farmers were interviewed for 30-45 minutes based on the pre-tested questionnaire. The interview covered the topics of livestock resources and their ownership, fodder source and utilization, use of concentrates, lactation and reproduction management data and animal health.

The farmers' objectives for keeping livestock were examined through paired comparison. The descriptive statistics were used to draw the valid information on different parameters. The data were depicted in percentage and standard errors were calculated where possible as described by Steel and Torrie (1980). The statistical techniques used for analysis were Percentage, Chi-square test and Gamma test.

Results and Discussion

Classification of the farmers and livestock herd structure

Out of the 75 farmers, 38.3%, 43.3% and 18.3% were in the small, medium and large categories, respectively. The structure of the livestock herds in the area is given in Table 1.

Table 1.  Livestock Herd Structure of 75 selected Farmers in Chack No. 218 RB Awan-Baloch

Class of Animals

Number of animals

Percentage of the herd

Buffalo (in milk)



Buffalo (Heifers, dry and young)



Cattle (in milk)



Cattle (Heifers, dry and young)



Adult goat



Young goat









As it is clear from Table 1, the priority animal for the farmers is the dairy animal (64.4%) whether it is cattle or buffalo followed by goats and sheep. Within dairy animals, farmers preferred buffalo to cattle (35.1% vs. 29.3%) and obvious reason for this is the consumer preference for the buffalo milk due to its high fat content. After dairy animals, goat is the second preferred animal (25.8%) and the reason is the readily available cash money from these animals because of quick growth rate, high prolificacy and because of better financial return within a short period, as compared to other animals.

The average numbers of the dairy animals were 1.8, 5 and 8.4 for small, medium and large class respectively. Similarly, the overall average of land owned was 2.3, 4.6 and 4.7 acres in the above farmers' categories. The data reflected that land size had a positive correlation with the herd size; as the size of land holding increased, there was an increase in the numbers of animals kept by the farmers as shown in the Table 2 because land is the most expensive commodity for live stock rearing so only those people can keep livestock in larger numbers who have this resource to grow their own fodder.

Table 2. Farm size according to land owned and herd maintained


Average of land owned, ha

Average of dairy own













The farmers who have sufficient (≥4 hectares) land holding were also interested in cash crops but the landless farmers from these three classes have a substantial dependency on livestock as indicated by Jena (1988). Landless farmers have dairy animals with some small ruminants as their only source of income.

Table 1 indicates that the average numbers of lactating animals were 2.65 times more than dry and unproductive animals, so most of the time only lactating animals that could generate income were kept in semi-urban areas due to higher cost of inputs and milk production as observed by Bhatti et al 1989. Table 3 shows the respondents' structure according to the buffalo and cattle owning and overall total number of livestock. Large numbers of animals were owned by medium class farmers as compared to all others, the reason being that the majority of livestock farmers fell in this class. It was also noted that with increase in farm size, the (medium to large) herd size decreased but the small farmers were found to use every way and means to increase their income. Therefore to achieve this goal they also kept various varieties of other stocks along with dairy animals. Moreover the small ruminants kept along with dairy animals were fed on the left over or surplus feed of dairy animals. Often these animals were kept as scavengers or on partial scavenging. This practice reduces the inputs at large and this stock acts as financial supports where farmer faces any monetary crisis. In such a situation the small animals were the first to be sold in order to have ready cash in emergency situation.

Table 3. Classification of farmers in the survey area


% of each group

No of milking buffalo

No of dry buffaloes

No of milking cattle

No of dry cattle

Small 1-3






Medium 4-6






Large >6












On comparing the animals owned by different farmer group, it was observed that the medium group owned sizeable number of animals because the main source of income was through livestock either by selling animals or their products. The data about the number of lactating cattle in different farmers group was 12, 51, 25 dairy cattle in small, medium and large farmer groups,  respectively. The farmers seemed not to bother much about the breeds of cattle. The reason of the highest percentage of Sahiwal cattle to be raised might be their good milk production and well adaptability in the area. The farmers were least interested to introduce the exotic cattle in the system. Total number of household members varied between farmers but the literacy rate was quiet low. The majority of respondents were engaged in non-farm jobs. The data showed that the livestock income contributed the major share in total income of the household. Similarly the data gives a general preview of basic composition of farmers according to the major sources of income, the role of the household head along with other family members viz. wife, son, daughter, labor, herd size and preference of farmers. Among the farmers,  non-farm jobs were very low in the village and women very restricted to do jobs due to social and cultural traditions. In the  small landholder farmers, women play a pivotal role. Their participation is well dispersed and less perceived. Feeding, watering, cleaning and milking of milch animals, disposal of livestock products and by products were mainly carried out by the women. Most farmers who were living near cities or roads went to work in the cities to earn extra income for their families.

Milk Production and Consumption Pattern:

The small farmers group produced less milk than others. The reason behind this could be financial constraints and poor feeding to meet the daily milk requirements as observed by Kumar and Gupta (1988). The daily average of total milk production for two days (day before interview + day of interview) in different classes during the survey was 201, 463 and 319 liters for small, medium and large farmer groups, respectively (Table 4).

Table 4. Milk production in different classes


Milk produced on interview day

Milk produced day before interview

Total milk production

Milk sold (Litres)

Small 1-3





Medium 4-6





Large >6










Daily milk production per farm was directly proportional to the farm size. Home consumption of milk might be due to low productivity of animals, marketing difficulties and awareness to increase the income through sale of milk. Daily milk production by small, medium and large farmers was 4.3, 8.0 and 14.0 liters respectively. The milk sale strategy in different classes of respondents and the milk disposal pattern by different classes of respondents is shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Milk yields and sale (litres) by different classes of farmers in survey area


average yield

average yield

average production

average sold

average consumption

Small 1-3






Medium 4-6






Large >6












It was observed that in buffaloes milk yield was 1361, 1401 and 1498 litres while in cattle 896, 1136 and 1040 litres in small, medium and large farmer groups respectively. When data were arranged according to the herd size, it showed that farmers having less than 2 dairy animals or more than 6 dairy animals were using maximum milk for home consumption i.e. 2.3 and 6.3 liters respectively. The minimum average of milk use for self consumption was found in the group having 2-6 animals because this group tried to use every means to generate income. The group having less animals was forced to use maximum milk production for self consumption, only the surplus after home consumption was sold in the market. Table 5 also shows that the average of daily milk production was 4.3, 8.9 and 14.5 in small medium and large farmer groups' respectively. A fairly high quantity of milk was used for home consumption by the small farmer group whilst others showed sale of milk as a major portion of their milk production. Milk used for home consumption was 54%, 40% and 32% respectively in the above said groups of the farmers.

Response of Farmers to Innovation:

It was common among the farmers to breed their animals using natural service.  Most of the farmers preferred natural breeding system rather than to go for artificial insemination (AI). This trend is highly associated with their education and degree of awareness. Despite the efforts made by the public sector,  natural service is still considered to be the best and was adopted by more than 80% of the farmers in each category. The reason is availability of natural service for 24 hours. In case of AI,  farmers had to take their animals to the AI centers or contact the concerned person. So farmers had to depute a person for this job or have to leave or suspend other farm activities for some time which is usually not affordable by the farmers. In case of cattle, a higher percentage of AI was noticed. Although the number is very low but due to a better conception rate in cattle it could be a reason for this trend. During the study the majority of the farmers were found not to vaccinate or de-worm their animals. Only a small proportion of farmers was applying vaccination or de-worming. This may be due to the education, awareness and lack of service of VeterinaryAssistants (VA) in the villages resulting into expression of dissatisfaction by the majority of the farmers.


Table 6 indicates the constraints faced by the livestock owners in the survey area.

Table 6. Constraints faced by farmers in the survey area (as percentages)






Animal purchase

Concentrate feeds






























The major constraints being faced by the farmers in the livestock enterprise were fodder, concentrate feeds, land, health, marketing, animal purchase, training and credit. One of the major problems was shortage of fodder and insufficient land faced by different classes. Small and medium classes did not have sufficient land to cultivate their own fodder, while the large farmers, who were having sufficient land, were more interested in cash crop growing and the livestock enterprise did not rank high in their priorities.  The analysis of constraints revealed that  67% and 14.3% of small farmers perceived fodder and land to be major constraints, compared with 52% and 14.8% by medium farmers and 28% and 13.2% by large farmer classes respectively. The single dairy animal raising was another problem as it increased the cost of milk production (less profit) and made the dairy farming discouraging. Moreover farmers keeping dairy cattle along with dairy buffalo were in a better business proposition and produced milk around the year. Therefore most of them were having lactating animals and were able to continue milk production and sale.


Anon 1993 Economic Survey. Goverment of Pakistan. Economic Advisor's Wing. Ministry of Finance, Islamabad.

Anon 2000 Punjab Livestock Census. Dept of L&DD, Govt of Punjab, Pakistan.

Bhatti J A, Hanjra S H, Gill R A, Ahmad Z and Khan M A 1989 Prospectus and limitations of Livestock production on Small farms. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Science 26 (1):1-7.

Jena A C 1988  Effectiveness of delivery systems for dairy development: A case study. Journal of Rural Development India 7(5): 561-571.

Kumar P and J N Gupta 1988 Comparative cost of milk production from different species of milch animals. A case study of Zaffarnagar District (Uttar Pradesh). Indian Journal of Dairy Science 41(4): 411-419.

Niaz M S 1997 Prime Minister Package of Agriculture Reforms. Agro Veterinary News.

Steel R G D and J H Torrie 1980 Priciples and procedures of statistics. McGraw Hill Book Co., New York, USA.

Ullah E 1998 The study of small holders' milk production in the central Punjab and strategies for an effective development approach. M. Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Livestock Management, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Received 3 September 2005; Accepted 15 November 2005; Published 18 January 2006

Go to top