Livestock raising is the centuries old occupation of the people residing in Balochistan province. Balochistan isthe largest province and makes about 44% of the total geographical area of the country with a landmass of 3,47,190 sq. km. Most of the area is rangelands with only 5% arable. Livestock is one of the major important sectors of the Province housing about 20% of the national stock. In Balochistan, in-spite of ecological limitations and being arid and semi-arid province.
The Livestock contributes 55% of Agriculture value added, 11.4% of National GDP of Pakistan and more than 47% in the economy of Balochistan. Around 93% area of the province comprises rangelands out of which just 28% are considered fair to good for livestock production. Hence, barring some portions of upper and lower highlands in north eastern part of the province having best ranges of the province which support 76% of the livestock, the southern plains with big land mass have the poorest ranges support only 24% of the livestock population. This has resulted that most of the land surface area does not even support rearing of livestock round the year thus necessitating seasonal migration of nomadic and semi-nomadic graziers to find feed for their livestock comprising mostly sheep and goats and lesser number of cattle and camels. Province is the cradle of many precious livestock breeds and livestock is the part of the socio-cultural and socioeconomic life of its inhabitants. The biodiversity of the provincial animal genetic resources plays very pivotal role in the economy of the province and each breed has its own characteristics and socioeconomic importance in poverty reduction and food security.
The population of small ruminants in Balochistan is a significant portion of the total population of sheep i.e.12, 804,217 (48 %) and goats 11,784,711 (22 %) of the country. There are a number of factors, which constrain the productivity of animals in the province, i.e. diseases, scarcity of vegetation on ranges conservative practices by livestock farmers, and poor marketing facilities. No institution has been made for the livestock farmers, where either they may be trained according to the modern change or their experience shared with the urban experts.
One of the most important constraints in production has been long lasting drought that caused feed scarcity. This scarcity badly affected fertility, weight gain of animals and caused diseases and production losses. It also increased cost of production and decreased breeder’s interest.
Meat is the major product of the local livestock breeds and may be turned as the largest entrepreneur of the livestock industry in the province for halal food especially the meat due to increasing demand in Muslim countries, Balochistan possesses good prospects of entering into the trade.