by Dr. Muhammad Rasheed –
Lack of understanding on Policy Framework
It’s very satisfying that development of livestock sector has priority in discussion, presentation and implementation by all relevant icons. The whole scenario is leading towards “Reforms in Livestock Sector for Development”. The workable strategy already indicated in Livestock development strategy document by PRMP with approval of concerned authorities indicate shift from Curative to Preventive and Production. Moreover, different documents articulated in last 3-4 years by PRMP, PGEIP, L&DDD, USAID, FAO and others were also present to consider which were prepared with same intention and vision.
Animal Traceability system is a hot topic of the day and it could be implemented with the establishment of Punjab Animal Health Regulatory Authority (PAHRA) under Livestock and Dairy Development Department, Government of the Punjab. The proposal has a vision for the establishment of farm to fork management in line with international standards, the Punjab Animal Health Regulatory Authority, will perform multifarious activities based on standards and quality for the entire value chain, effective inspection/ accreditation and certification regime. The proposed Punjab Animal Health Regulatory Authority will be functional on its objectives having desired structure and empowerment for slaughtering, meat inspection, vaccination, reporting, surveillance, veterinary public health, animal movement, animal identification and traceability aspects obligatory under National and international standards.
Punjab Assembly has passed an Act to provide a regulatory framework for livestock breeding services, to improve genetic potential of breeds and protect indigenous breeds of livestock in the Punjab. Surely it’s a great achievement to streamline the breeds and breeding services but to move ahead, L&DDD may take the necessary steps as needed for the efficient implementation of passed Bill. In this context, a meeting was convened at UVAS with no recommended way forward on nomination / constitution of necessary groups / experts and bodies. Efficient implementation of Bill needs;
1. Nomination / notification of Livestock Breeding Services Authority
2. Appointment of Registrar
3. Allocation and establishment of Livestock Breeding Services Authority Fund.
4. Nomination and notification of Technical Committee for preparation of standards and procedures mentioned in Chapter III of Act.
5. Procedures and working parameters for Breeders Associations to be registered with Authority.
6. Framing of laws / bylaws as required under Chapter V covering registration and licensing.
7. Appointment of analyst or expert as indicated in Chapter VI covering enforcement of Bill.
8. Notification / appointment of Inspectors for purposes of enforcing the section 30 of Bill / the Act.
9. Preparation / notification of rules for carrying out implementation of different sections of the Act as indicated under Chapter VIII.
Nil Value Addition by Information Communication Technologies
Information Communication technologies (ICTs) for development are in use in all working segments of social and technical infrastructures. Livestock and Dairy development Department took the initiatives with coordination of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and Android Cell Phones were provided to field staff. The use of IC tools (Android Cell) is misleading the whole administrative setup of field formation by complaints and confusion. The software on phone may got linked with the surveillance, diagnosis and reporting of notifiable diseases, which is main task of field veterinary staff as indicated in Livestock policy document. The Livestock Department has its ancient infrastructure needs to be reviewed on following lines;
1. Establishing Animal Registration AND identification system leading to traceability in compliance of Farm to Fork Regime
2. Development of Disease Free Zones / Compartments in line with OIE obligations
3. Formation and functions of Punjab Animal Health Regulatory Authority
4. Reorganization of Livestock and Dairy Development Department in line with policy i.e preventive and production oriented.
5. Functional Veterinary Public Health component in Punjab
6. Certification and accreditation of veterinary services and institutions for OIE standards on PVS (Performance of Veterinary Services)
Adhoc arrangements for administrative and technical posts
It’s very encouraging that technical officer of L&DDD are enjoying 4 tier promotion structure from PBS 17 to 20. With this initiative, Livestock and Dairy Development Department Punjab have more than 1000 officers in PBS -18 which is considered as Manager Cadre. The posting of Manger Cadre needs a prescribed assignment / task / project to think, work, implement and report for their contribution in the department / sector. With this concern Livestock and Dairy Development Department, having a vast organization structure from Union Council to Province level needs reforms and restructuring in line with the agreed strategy.
The additional duties assigned to district and field veterinary staff is badly hampering the technical working capacity of district and field staff. Moreover, the notification to become the part of food inspection committees at district, tehsil level is also confusing the working capacity of staff, having no practical experience on topic / subject but stressing responsibility. The situation need permanent solution such as 1) Coordination agreement with Punjab Food Authority, and 2) Establishing Directorate of Veterinary Public Health with induction of dedicated staff for the purpose at district / tehsil level
Fallacy on International obligations for Disease Free Zones / Compartment
Livestock and Dairy Development Department Punjab is on toes nowadays for the establishment of Disease Free Zones by developing concepts, proposal, presentations and PC-1. L&DDD should consider the actual theme of the accreditation (DFZ) before putting resources on the project. The accreditation will be issued by International Animal Health Organization (OIE) so L&DDD should move in line with the OIE requirements. OIE is working for FMD and PPR diseases as disease free zone or compartment.
Establishing and maintaining a disease free status throughout the country is the final goal for OIE Members countries. However, establishing and maintaining a disease free status for an entire country may be difficult, especially in the case of diseases that can easily cross international boundaries. For many diseases, OIE Members can work and establish the concept of zoning having identification of species and their animal health / disease status within national boundaries. To make the DF concept more workable, compartments can be established in a province as the recognition of zones is based on geographical boundaries whereas the recognition of compartments is based on management practices and applied biosecurity. However, spatial considerations and good management practices play a role in the application of both concepts. OIE chapter 4.3 covers the concept of zoning and compartmentalization and its establishment in the country. Compartmentalization is a workable concept for Veterinary Services which can be applied in many disease control programs that are based on the concept of disease-free herds/flocks.OIE Chapter 4.4 cover all the modality for the establishment of Disease Free Compartment within a country.
Hiring of international consultancies for livestock services
Livestock and Dairy Development Department has initiated EOI for consultancy service on different components of department. It’s a good move to have national and international consultancies for the development of livestock sector in Punjab. As a professional, I am afraid on wastages of resources under the initiative as PLDDB and PAMCO is already working in Punjab with same theme and concept. The understanding on division of public and private goods / services should be taken as priority as the components under EOI are all those which private or company mood setup for implementation. I am in favor of to keep and focus on remaining components such as 1) Disease Surveillance 2) reporting, 3) diagnosis, veterinary public health, quarantine, provision of policy and legal framework and support for farmers association by Livestock and Dairy development Department. This step will also need restructuring of L&DDD staff with positing of right man on right place / job at each level including secretariat.
Delay in establishing Animal Registration and Identification System
Animal Identification and Traceability is need of the day under international trade obligation for livestock and livestock products exports. The pillars of a traceability system are founded upon the identification of individual animals, the ability to track their movements, proper identification of premises, and recording of this information in appropriate registers. The World Animal Health Organization (OIE), Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission has established guidelines on animal identification and traceability for OIE Members, which are obligatory to be adopted by Pakistan.
L&DDD has taken a step towards establishing Animal Identification System leading to traceability regime. The concept is quite complicated and need understanding on registration, identification, data entry in dedicated software and traceability. L&DDD should come up to develop a dedicated software / database having strengths of unique animal identification code, production and breeding records, animal movement and disposal, diagnosis and treatment etc. Supply Chain Improvement project of Agriculture Department has a component with same objectives. L&DDD authorities should coordinate with SCIP to get dedicated Animal Identification System for Punjab. The system may be used by other organizations, companies and departments having access as required or agreed. We may quote an example of NADRA which is widely used / benefitted by Banks, agencies, organization and departments. This system is also pre requisite for establishment of Disease Free Zones / Compartments under provincial or national veterinary authorities with functional database.
The writer, Dr. Muhammad Rasheed has a vast and practical experience in delivering services as a technical officer of Livestock and Dairy Development Department, Government of the Punjab w.e.f 1975 to 2013. During this tenure, he worked as Veterinary Officer, Assistant Director and Deputy Director in different formations of Livestock department. His skills as Resource person, Coordinator, and Consultant in relevant fields were also been utilized by other organizations for project appraisal, planning, problem solving and training to launch, implement income generating interventions in the field. He has over 40 year practical experience in the field of Agriculture and Livestock extension, communication and business management. His services as National consultant for Strengthening of Livestock Services Project (SLSP) under European Union (EU) and Ministry of Livestock and Dairy Development, Government of Pakistan yielded Rinderpest Freedom Accreditation for Pakistan from OIE in May 2007. He also worked for Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as Master trainer and Participatory approach expert and completed national importance assignments. Working as trainers and resource person for RSPs, SMEDA, Solve Agri Pak, UVAS, MPDD and ASF is also on his credit.
He own Bachelor Degree in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) but his experiences made his confidence level high to work and complete assignments at national and international level. He made a nationwide assessment / “Study on Prevalence of Foot and Mouth Diseases with its Economic Impact on Rural Economy” under Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations.He also conducted as lead consultant a comprehensive assessment of “Dairy Development Program” with title “Improving Microenterprise through Dairy” in terms of its interventions, impact and sustainability for Hashoo Foundation funded by MEDA / USAID.As a certified trainer, he as conducted Strategic Planning Workshops under Strengthening of Livestock Services Project (EU/SLSP), FAO Regional Project on TADs GTFS/INT/907/ITA and Livestock and Dairy Development Department, Government of the Punjab to formulate legal and policy framework in livestock management and breeding. He is also certified Large Scale Dairy Farm Manager trainer byptc+ Holland having practical experience in raising farms, organizational structure, community mobilization, communication and soft skills and an accredited trainer for livestock emergency preparation by using Participatory Appraisal techniques being accredited by www.livestock.emergency.net .
He is engaged for legal and policy formulation on Livestock and Dairy Development services delivery mechanism in general and for establishment of Animal Identification and Traceability System in Punjab in particular to get Disease Free Zones / Compartments in line with OIE prescribed standards. He was also assigned as Team Leader Milk and Meat Safety Agency to boost livestock trading and marketing with application of international food safety standards / certificate on quality assurance systems, OIE codes, Codex Allemintarious, GlobalGAP, HACCP, IFS and relevant inspection regimes as an internal auditor. So, above mentioned capabilities having 40 years’ experience are source of inspiration for me to comment on present situation of Livestock Sector / Department and its future working with workable suggestions for improvement. Detail on each point is available with writer as and when asked for;
Animal, Poultry, Livestock, Farm Animal, Buffaloes, Buffalo Farming, Cows, Sheep, Goat, Vaccination, Disease, Dairy