Effects of Livestock Diseases on Dairy Production and Incomes in District Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan

PSSP Working Paper number 023 “Effects of Livestock Diseases on Dairy Production and Incomes in District Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan” estimates the prevalence of key livestock diseases in district Faisalabad and evaluates the effects they have on livestock productivity and farm incomes. All five tehsils of district Faisalabad are included in the study. Three categories of farmers were formed on the basis of the adult animal units (buffaloes and cows): small (1-3 animals), medium (4-6 animals), and large farmers (greater than 6 animals). Particular focus of the study is on the negative consequences on milk production and farm incomes due to mastitis, Parturient Hemoglobinuria, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and tick infestations. The morbidity/incidence rate, mortality rate, and case fatality rate of each disease is determined. The economic losses associated with these diseases are estimated, and the economic returns on controlling these diseases are calculated in the form of benefit-cost ratios. These results are put in overall farm income perspective by reporting the share of livestock income in total farm income and policy recommendations are given.

Results show a large share of the milk production in the livestock sector comes from large farmers despite the presence of large numbers of small farms. The analysis of diseases shows that the morbidity rate of tick infestation and FMD is high both in buffaloes and cows, and significant economic losses are being caused by these diseases due to reduced milk production, weight loss, and abortion. The economic losses caused are proportional to the scale of farming; i.e. the greater the farm size, the higher are the losses. However, on a per animal basis the losses are generally higher for small and medium farms than for large farms. The share of livestock income in total farm income is around 50 percent which makes this sector vital to the survival of the farming community, especially the small farmers. However, the gross margins from dairy for small and medium farmers are only around 5 percent of the total gross farm margins (with the other 95 percent coming from crops), while the gross margins from dairy for large farmers are around 40 percent of their total. The return on controlling these livestock diseases is sufficient to motivate the farmers to move in this direction, and the vast room for improving margins acts as a strong motivating force as well. Yet, when it comes to the treatment of livestock diseases, many farmers rely on traditional methods rather than seeking proper veterinary advice for their animals, which is detrimental to their incomes and the development of the national dairy business.