Wool value chain development will facilitate economic development and is an important step towards development of Pakistan: Siddique Mandokhel, Secretary Livestock
ISLAMABAD – A consultation session was organized in Islamabad today to seek suggestions and recommendations for the best way forward in developing the wool sector in Balochistan.
Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with the federal and Balochistan governments is preparing for an integrated wool sector development program.
Dr. Hashim Khan Populzai, Additional Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research opened the conference and highlighted the importance of wool in developing the rural economy of Balochistan.
Wool has a high potential for development in Balochistan and how this important resource can be used to improve livelihoods of rural farmers including women, Patrick T. Evans, FAO Representative to Pakistan informed the participants. He invited the participants to make practical recommendations for development of the wool value chain in Balochistan.
Mr. Siddique Mandokhel, Secretary Livestock, Balochistan highlighted some of the problems faced by the livestock sector in Balochistan especially in marketing and getting fair prices of their produce.
‘Balochistan is well known for its livestock. Wool value chain development will facilitate economic development and is an important step towards development of Pakistan’ he said.
Experts made presentations giving insights on animal husbandry, added value activities, gender perspective and mechanical shearing.
Women farmers along with men from Balochistan were also present in the conference and shared their experiences and issues faced by them. Shazia and Saleema – two women from village Qambrani and Sraghurgai, travelled from Quetta to narrate their experiences and described how the training received from FAO Project enabled them to contribute to household income. They said they were happy that they were now able to send their children to school.
Though Balochistan has an estimated 14.7 million sheep, most are used for meat or hides. Wool is often treated as a by-product with little or no value and is generally discarded. A well-functioning wool value chain in Balochistan will create employment for herders, shearers, wool washers, sorters, graders, balers, spinners, dyers, traders and transporters. Much of this work can be done by women.
The proposed program (From Sheep to Shawl) will cover all aspects of the wool value chain from improved and sustainable rangeland management to vaccination, better feeding of sheep, delivery of shearing services and added value activities such as carpet making.