For more than a decade, Pakistan has been one of the leading producers of dairy products in the world. They are frequently in the Top 10 leading global producers. Pakistan is the sixth-most populous country in the world, and the dairy industry has averaged being the sixth-largest dairy producer globally as well.
Agriculture is the single largest sector which contributes to the GDP in Pakistan. Agricultural opportunities employ 44% of the total population, consistently contributing over 20% to the overall GDP. Even though there have been major shifts in employment throughout the country since 2008, agricultural opportunities still provide a dominant source of jobs.
Despite the strong economics provided by the dairy industry in Pakistan, many of the farmers are not equipped to have access to the benefits of such a status. There is a lack of education within the industry, which has led to many farmers using traditional techniques for milking and dairy production. There is also a preference for buffalo milk in Pakistan, which limits overall production levels.
Statistics are not regularly updated for the Pakistan dairy industry. Much of the industry is disorganized and some information is based on estimates because of the rural nature of this sector.
Interesting Pakistan Dairy Industry Statistics
#1. About 95% of the milk that is produced for the Pakistan dairy industry comes from small-scale rural producers or peri-urban locations. The average herd size for a dairy farm in Pakistan is 2-3 animals. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#2. About 42 million tons of milk production comes through the Pakistan dairy industry each year. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#3. The livestock subsector for the agricultural industry in Pakistan accounts for 52% of the revenues that are generated, which equates to about 11% of the country’s overall GDP. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#4. About 35 million people, living in rural areas, are directly supported or employed by the dairy industry in Pakistan over the course of a year. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#5. Although cattle produce more milk per animal in Pakistan, buffaloes are the preference for farmers because of the lower cholesterol levels in the milk. 62% of the milk that is produced by the industry is actually buffalo milk, with 80% coming from rural areas. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#6. Punjab has the largest numbers of buffalo in the country, accounting for 64% of the total population. Sindh follows with 26% of the population, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) has 7%. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#7. Punjab also has the largest cattle population, which represents 34% of the milk available to the Pakistan dairy industry. About 48% of the cattle in Pakistan are located in Punjab. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#8. There are currently 748 dairy farms operating in Pakistan that focus on milk production from cattle. Combined, they support a total herd population of 147,000 cattle. (Pakissan)
#9. There are 543 million liters of milk produced from cattle in Pakistan each year on average. Just 10% of this production is used for domestic consumption of fresh milk. Half of the dairy products from cattle are exported by the industry each year. (Pakissan)
#10. About $130 million is paid each year to farmers for the milk that is produced from cattle-based dairy farms. That creates about $280 million in total added value past the farm gate. (Pakissan)
#11. The cost of a single buffalo in Pakistan is between Rs 200,000 to Rs 400,000. (The Express Tribune)
#12. Despite the high levels of dairy production, Pakistan leads the world in total imports for formula milk, spending $40 million each year on this commodity. (Pakissan)
#13. Cattle in the Pakistan dairy industry average about 14 liters of milk production per day, with a total lactation period of 305 days annually. In comparison, a buffalo within the industry produces about 10 liters of milk per day, with a lactation period of 280 days. (Pakissan)
#14. About 77% of the cattle in the industry have been taken as wet cows, while 67% of the total buffaloes for the industry hold the same status. (Pakissan)
#15. The average cow for the industry is productive for about 8 years, whereas buffaloes are productive for about 9 years. (Pakissan)
#16. 70% of farmers within the Pakistan dairy industry qualify for the status of a smallholder producer. These farmers tend to produce milk to meet their family requirements, averaging three buffaloes that produce 3 liters of milk each per day. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#17. 84% of the herds that are currently operating for the industry have a size of 4 or less. Another 14% of the herds have a herd size of just 5-10 animals. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#18. About 30% of the average household expenditures in Pakistan for food items is directed toward dairy products. Most of the milk that is consumed in the country is in tea products, which creates an almost 100% household demand for dairy products. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#19. The average price for milk in urban areas within Pakistan is $0.52 per liter for buffalo milk and $0.47 per liter for fresh cow milk. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
#20. Sindh has the highest per capita consumption of dairy products in Pakistan, at 246kg per person. Punjab has the second-highest per capita consumption rate at 132kg. They are followed by Balochistan, at 108kg per person. (Food and Agriculture Organization)
Pakistan Dairy Industry Trends and Analysis
The Pakistan dairy industry could be one of the most powerful in the world today. Unfortunately, the industry is comprised of unconnected small-scale producers who focus on meeting family needs before creating revenue for themselves. When that emphasis is combined with an overall lack of agricultural education and a lack of financial resources, the industry is severely undervalued compared to its global peers.
There are hopeful changes coming to the industry in the next day. Associations are forming to support buffalo farms, cattle farms, and hybrid farmers who maintain populations of both livestock options. Major international brands, such as Nestle, have begun to purchase dairy supplies from the few large-scale producers within the industry, which has helped to begin growing product values.
With more investment, networking, and technology upgrades, the potential for greater production is enormous. With 70% of herds under-producing by 30 liters per day, the Pakistan dairy industry could help the country begin to become the dominant force in dairy that it is poised to be.