ISLAMABAD: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) officials have said that Balochistan has an estimated sheep population of 14.7 million, with potential value of wool around Rs2.2 billion per year.They were speaking at a one-day workshop organised on “National Wool Development Programme” at a local hotel here on Friday by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) in collaboration with the FAO of the United Nations.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan chaired the workshop.
The chief objective of the workshop was seeking suggestions and recommendations for the best way forward in developing the wool sector in Balochistan to improve the rural economy of the province by implementing a long-term Sustainable Wool Development Programme in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion Minister Bosan said: “There is a need to expand and professionalise the wool sector in Balochistan, which accounts for 50 per cent of sheep in Pakistan with eventual expansion to other parts of the country.
“Workshops like this will help bring all stakeholders on one platform and this will lead to a more unified and complete approach towards uplift of wool farming and relevant sectors.” He added.
He also said that the government with the help of the FAO and the USAID were progressing steadily in highlighting the issues related to wool production and improving the conditions for local livestock farmers.
The wool programme will be coordinated by the FAO in close cooperation with the Government of Balochistan and the MNFSR as main programme partners, and the DGs of Sindh, Punjab and KP at a later stage.
There are seven districts in Pakistan with sheep populations exceeding one million heads. Six are in Balochistan while one is in Sindh and there are 28 districts with sheep populations exceeding 250,000 heads. These 28 districts have been tentatively selected for inclusion in the National Wool Development Programme.
Patrick T Evans, FAO Representative to Pakistan informed the participants that wool had a high potential for development in Balochistan and this important resource would be used to improve livelihoods of rural farmers including women.
“A well-functioning wool value chain in Balochistan will create employment for herders, shearers, wool washers, sorters, graders, balers, spinners, dyers, traders and transporters.” Patrick T Evans added.
Published in The Balochistan Point on April 7, 2017