Aug 26 - Pakistan taking steps to improve it's dairy industry. Julie Noce reports.
At Shahzad Iqbal's farm in Pakistan, cows and bulls are bred to produce the maximum yield of milk. Although Pakistan boasts one of the worlds' largest herds, milk production is considerably lower than in the West. Iqbal hopes to change all that by selling high quality bull sperm to local farmers to help their cows boost output. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHAHZAD IQBAL, OWNER OF DAIRY FARM, SAYING: "I will not claim that I'm mad, but certainly I'm not absolutely normal as well (either), because it takes, you know, a lot of persistence to undertake that type of challenge." But low milk output is just one problem in the struggling sector. With only three percent of Pakistan's milk processed for sale in grocery stores, most farmers rely on middlemen, or doodhi's, to collect their milk and take it to market. It's an unreliable system that leaves many farmers with a surplus. (SOUNDBITE) (Punjabi) FARMER, MUKHTAR AHMED, SAYING: "Sometimes, they don't take the whole milk from us. They stop taking milk for 2 days, 4 days saying that they had enough of milk already and they don't want more. So, we are in trouble, we have to take it to the city. Many are left with unsold milk, we suffer losses." Although dairy farming and related industries provide employment for 20 percent of the population, government in-fighting, Taliban insurgencies, and crony capitalism have prevented the industry from reaching its true potential.