Islamabad, April 07, 2014 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said that present government was undertaking various measures to improve the livelihoods of Baloch farmers and cattlemen.
The Federal Minister also stressed on chalking out a mechanism for transferring of modern agriculture technology to agriculture-related communities across the country in order to achieve maximum productivity.
The Minister also emphasized on disseminating modern agriculture research and innovation to the doorstep of farmers. The minister said this while witnessing a demonstration of mechanical sheep shearing skills by Baloch farmers who were trained under the Balochistan Agriculture Project implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with funding from US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Balochistan Agriculture Project was launched to modernize shearing practices in Balochistan. The demonstration ceremony was organized by FAO in coordination with National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) here in Islamabad, which was attended, among others, by Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman PARC, Patrick Evans, FAO Representative in Pakistan, Malik Zahoor Ahmad, D.G. NAPHIS and other high officials of MNFSR.
The use of modern shearing equipment cuts down the shearing time six-fold and produces higher quality wool. “Improve sharing processes will enable farmers to sell wool to better-paying markets, and therefore, to earn more income”, said David Doolan, FAO manager for the USAID-funded Balochistan Agriculture Project.
It is to be noted that wool industry is an important source of income and jobs in Balochistan which has an estimated 12 million sheep and earns $5 million in annual revenue from this industry. With funding from USAID, FAO is helping Balochistan farmers in remote communities to adopt modern wool-related practices. FAO estimates that these improved practices can increase the revenue of Balochistan wool industry to $ 20 million a year.
Participants of the ceremony also witnessed practical demonstrations of shearing sheep with shearers using both manual and mechanical shearing methods. While traditional approach takes 45 minutes to shear a sheep whereas the mechanical equipment shortens the task to less than seven minutes.
The use of modern equipment also produces longer and even fiber which is of higher commercial value. The demonstration also included a mobile shearing shed which was designed and produced by FAO in cooperation with Pakistani manufacturers.
Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister appreciated the efforts of FAO and USAID in launching and implementing Balochistan Agriculture Project for introducing modern shearing practices in the province.
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