ISLAMABAD: With the resumption of cattle trade with the Netherlands after a hiatus of 11 years, Pakistan’s dairy and livestock sector which has great potential will get a boost. It would also provide an opportunity to vigorously exploit the dairy sector which will ultimately lead to development of dairy sector.
Although successive governments ignored this vital sector in the past, the dairy sector is one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy. The resumption of trade would ensure availability of Dutch livestock which is the 2nd biggest agricultural exporter in the world. The Netherlands is considered as cradle of famous Holstein Friesian cow, which have been bred over generations to become the premier breed of cattle for high quality and high quantity dairy production, can produce no less than 30,000kg of milk in a lifetime; a yield that is unmatched worldwide. Average lifetime production of Dutch dairy cows, which have a productive life span of 1.284 (milking) days, is 30,999 kg of milk per year with 2,443 kg fat and protein, which is also the highest in the world. Dutch cows have the highest longevity in comparison with all other countries.
The Dutch animals have been free from all major diseases for a long period of time and the Dutch have the world’s best system in place to guarantee the health of all of its animals. The Dutch dairy sector has therefore been declared as having ‘negligible risk’ by the World Organisation for Animal Health and its Office of International des Epizooties (OIE) which is a Paris-based inter-governmental organisation with Pakistan being one of its members.
Not even a single case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as the ‘mad cow disease’, has been reported in the last few years in the Netherlands. That is why, the Dutch dairy sector is accredited for Brucellosis and Tuberculosis and for Food and Mouth Disease (FMD) and BSE. The Dutch cows also have the ability to quickly adapt to different environments – from extreme heat to the freezing temperatures and so, there is no doubt that Pakistan can also be a safe home to the Holstein Friesian cows.
The availability of world class Dutch dairy cattle presents a unique opportunity to Pakistan’s growing dairy sector because the Netherlands excels in innovative agro-food technology and has the highest yielding cows – Holstein Friesian cow – in the world. Following the resumption of Pak-Dutch cattle trade, the Dutch government as well as its private sector is also happy to share this knowledge with Pakistan which could make the Netherlands the answer to modernising Pakistan’s dairy future.