Types of Livestock Farming in Pakistan

Livestock farming plays a significant role in the agriculture industry of Pakistan, providing food and income to many rural communities. From dairy cattle to poultry and sheep, there are a variety of livestock species raised in the country. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the types of livestock farming practiced in Pakistan, including an overview of the most commonly raised breeds and their unique characteristics

Introduction to Livestock Farming in Pakistan

Livestock farming is an important part of Pakistan’s agriculture sector, with four main subsectors including food and fiber crops, horticulture and orchards, livestock and dairy, fisheries, and forestry. In Pakistan, large-scale farming is limited with only 6% of buffalo and 9.8% cattle population kept by farmers with more than 20 animals per household. Cattle and buffaloes are combined into milking and non-milking categories to produce milk, sheep, goats and other outputs. Traditional rural livestock production, commercial milk production and desert/rangelands are the main prevailing livestock production systems in the country. Livestock plays a vital role in the economy of Pakistan as it is a largely rural and agriculture-based industry. The population of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel and other livestock species in Pakistan is estimated to be around 61.89 percent of the agricultural sector and 14.04 percent of the GDP making the country the 5th largest producer of cotton in the world.

Overview of Livestock Species in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country with a wide variety of livestock species, ranging from cattle and buffalo to sheep, goats, poultry, camels and more. The most common species of livestock in Pakistan is cattle, followed by buffaloes, goats and sheep. Cattle are predominantly used for dairy production and are mainly of the Red Sindhi breed. Buffaloes are used for meat and milk production, with the Murrah and Nili-Ravi breeds being the most popular. Poultry farming is also popular in Pakistan, with chickens being the most common type of poultry raised. Goats are mainly reared for their wool or meat and the Beetal breed is the most common in Pakistan. Sheep are also raised for their wool or meat and the Kajli breed is the most popular in this regard. Lastly, camels are raised for their milk and meat and mostly consist of the Sindhi breed.

Traditional Rural Livestock Production

Traditional rural livestock production is an integral part of the economy in Pakistan, with small-holder farmers relying on their animals for income and food security. Cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes and camels are the predominant livestock species found in rural areas, with traditional production methods still widely practiced. Herders use traditional grazing lands for their animals, often leading them to different pastures throughout the year. The wool from sheep and goats is also exported in large quantities. Local breeds of cattle are still very popular among farmers, although modern equipment and milk machines are not commonplace. With female farmers traditionally managing the livestock sector, this provides a vital source of income for many rural households.

Cattle Farming in Pakistan

Cattle farming is an important component of the livestock industry in Pakistan. Cows, buffaloes, and bulls are the primary cattle species raised in the country. Commercial dairy farms are increasingly popular due to their potential for producing high-quality milk and other dairy products. Smallholder farms are still prevalent and account for a large portion of total milk production in Pakistan. Red Sindhi cattle are the most popular breed of cattle in the country, and they produce an average yield of 1361 litres per lactation period. Smallholder farmers tend to keep 1-3 cows for subsistence purposes, with average daily yields of 1-3 litres per animal. An increasing number of farmers are turning to more intensive farming systems to maximize their yields, making use of modern technologies such as artificial insemination, feed supplements, and vaccinations. With the right support and investments, Pakistan’s livestock sector could become a major contributor to the country’s economy.

Poultry Farming in Pakistan

Poultry farming has become a major activity in Pakistan over the past few decades. It has grown from a small, traditional rural industry to a large-scale commercial enterprise. Currently, the country produces 1.94 million tons of chicken annually, with more than 15,000 farms engaged in the poultry sector. Broiler meat is the cheapest source of animal protein available in Pakistan, contributing 4.81% to agriculture growth and 9.84% to GDP in 2006-07. Imported breeds such as White Leghorn, alongside the local Desi breed, are raised on commercial farms to produce both meat and eggs. The industry is supported by government initiatives such as tax reliefs and the Punjab Poultry Production Act (10). With its strong growth potential, poultry farming presents an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to invest in this sector.

Sheep and Goat Farming in Pakistan

Sheep and goat farming are a traditional form of livestock production in Pakistan, with smallholder farmers rearing these animals for their milk, mutton, skin and wool. Sheep and goats are widely bred across both Punjab and Sindh provinces, with more than 9 million animals being slaughtered annually. According to surveys, around 12 sheep or 13 goats are owned by each household. With the rise of small and medium enterprises in the country, there are now more opportunities for modernizing these traditional livestock farming methods. This includes improved animal husbandry practices that seek to maximize the productivity and health of the animals while minimizing environmental impacts. By utilizing the latest technologies, such as GPS tracking devices, farmers can better monitor their herds and optimize the efficiency of their operations. This will provide long-term benefits to sheep and goat farmers in Pakistan, helping to ensure that these important sectors remain viable into the future.

Buffalo Farming in Pakistan

Buffalo farming is an important component of the livestock industry in Pakistan. Buffaloes are the main dairy animal in the country, contributing the largest share to total milk production. There are approximately 41.2 million buffaloes in the country and buffalo milk production accounts for 61.89 percent of agriculture and 14.04 percent of the GDP. There are a variety of breeds of buffaloes that are raised in Pakistan, with different yields and value to farmers. Buffalo farming is traditionally carried out in rural subsistence small-holder production systems, as well as in commercial farming operations. In addition to milk production, buffalo farming offers a range of products that can be sold for additional income, such as meat, hides and dung for fuel or fertilizers. Despite some challenges such as inadequate infrastructure and access to markets, buffalo farming has great potential for economic growth in Pakistan and can provide significant opportunities for farmers.

Camel Farming in Pakistan

Camel farming is an important part of the livestock industry in Pakistan. There are twenty different breeds of camels in the country, which are used for a variety of purposes, including draught work, milk production, and meat production. The camel production systems in Pakistan include migratory or nomadic, transhumant/semi migratory, and sedentary or household pastoralist. Camels have excellent growth rates and provide valuable food products such as milk, meat, and byproducts. To improve the sector, the government has implemented various initiatives to increase camel production. These initiatives include improving access to resources such as feed and vaccines, providing technical assistance to farmers, and increasing public awareness about the importance of camel farming.

Breeds of Cattle Raised in Pakistan

In Pakistan, there are several breeds of cattle that are raised for dairy production and other purposes. Here are some of the most commonly raised cattle breeds in Pakistan:

  1. Sahiwal: Sahiwal is a breed of cattle that is native to Pakistan. It is a hardy breed that is well-suited to the hot and humid conditions of the country. Sahiwal cattle are known for their high milk production and are considered one of the best dairy cattle breeds in the world.
  2. Red Sindhi: The Red Sindhi breed is also native to Pakistan. It is known for its heat tolerance and resistance to diseases, making it well-suited for the harsh climate of the country. Red Sindhi cattle are also known for their high milk production and are commonly raised for dairy production.
  3. Nili-Ravi: Nili-Ravi is a breed of cattle that is widely raised in Pakistan. It is a highly productive breed that is known for its high milk production and good meat quality. Nili-Ravi cattle are also well-adapted to the hot and humid conditions of the country.
  4. Dhanni: Dhanni is a breed of cattle that is widely raised in the rural areas of Pakistan. It is a hardy breed that is well-suited to the harsh conditions of the country. Dhanni cattle are used for plowing and as draft animals, as well as for dairy production.
  5. Kundi: Kundi is a breed of cattle that is widely raised in the southern regions of Pakistan. It is known for its high resistance to diseases and is well-adapted to the hot and humid conditions of the country. Kundi cattle are used for dairy production, as well as for plowing and as draft animals.

These are some of the most commonly raised cattle breeds in Pakistan. The exact breeds raised will depend on local conditions, as well as the purpose for which the cattle are being raised.

Factors Influencing the Livestock Industry

The factors influencing the livestock industry in Pakistan are numerous and varied, ranging from socio-economic conditions to the availability of resources. Climate, nutrition, size of landholdings and labor force, as well as gender roles, all have a profound impact on the amount, type and quality of animal products produced. Women in rural areas are actively engaged in agriculture and livestock production, playing a more important role in small production systems. With the advent of climate-smart livestock practices, farmers are now able to make more informed decisions when choosing these options. Additionally, while economic well-being is the primary focus for many farmers in the country, cultural considerations such as animal welfare and traditional customs also need to be taken into account. By understanding these factors, Pakistan can ensure that its livestock industry continues to thrive for years to come.

Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Livestock Sector

The livestock sector in Pakistan is a major contributor to the nation’s economic growth and development, as it contributes 14.04 percent of the total agricultural output. However, there are many challenges and opportunities that face this sector. Livestock farmers must contend with issues such as pasture and feed availability, water resources availability, breeding and management of livestock, diversification, extending and intensifying production, and animal welfare legislation. Additionally, smallholders often struggle to understand how to increase the productivity of their livestock production systems, thus limiting their potential to boost their rural incomes. On the other hand, there are opportunities for the sector to benefit from new breeds of cattle and sheep that have been introduced in recent years. There is also potential to expand production by introducing modern farming techniques and technologies. Thus, by addressing these challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities available, the livestock sector has great potential for further growth in Pakistan.


In conclusion, it is evident that livestock farming plays an important role in the Pakistani agricultural sector. There are a variety of species that are raised in Pakistan, ranging from cattle and poultry to sheep, goats, buffaloes and camels. Each species has its own unique characteristics and production systems, as well as its own challenges and opportunities. The success of the livestock sector depends on the availability of resources and knowledge, as well as the willingness of farmers to adapt to changing conditions. With the right support and investment, there is potential for the sector to continue to grow and contribute to the economic development of Pakistan.

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