Acta Veterinaria Eurasia
Original Article

Effect of COVID-19 on Dairy Farmers and Provision of Public Sector Veterinary Services in Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study

1.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Islamabad, Pakistan

Acta Vet Eurasia 2024; 50: 135-140
DOI: 10.5152/actavet.2024.23062
Read: 364 Downloads: 290 Published: 02 May 2024

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed some serious economic challenges to the livestock sector globally. Reportedly, the COVID-19 related restrictions have resulted in decreased demand as well as prices for dairy products, resulting in substantial losses to the dairy sector. The present study was designed to investigate the COVID-19 effect on dairy farmers and the provision of public sector veterinary services in Pakistan. A cross-sectional tele-survey was conducted in two regions of Pakistan, i.e., Bahawalpur Division and Karachi dairy colonies. A total of 134 veterinary professionals and 218 farms (126 from Bahawalpur Division, 92 from Karachi) were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. The collected information was analyzed using SPSS and Epi Info version 7.2. Majority of farmers from Bahawalpur Division reported a decrease in milk demand of 64% (81) after onset of COVID-19 . Similarly, 88% (81) of the dairy colonies in Karachi also experienced the lockdown effect on sale of milk. Primarily, compromised prices, lower sales and sometimes complete lack of milk sales were the reasons for economic losses in Bahawalpur Division and Karachi region respectively. Furthermore, 16% of farmers reported selling animals, 14% stated considering to winding up business entirely, and 20% laid off employees. Merely 13% use their savings to cover their losses. Farmers unable to sell their entire milk yield used the milk to make value-added products like butter, ghee, and khoya, while other used it at home and calves’ feed respectively. Farmers reported to compensating for the lower income either by taking loans, selling animals, and reducing the staff. Professionals from both regions reported compromised ability to provide veterinary services, including after-hours private practice (36%, 56%), the number of farmers visiting the veterinary hospitals (93%, 75%), and provision of (93%, 70%) extension services. However, there was a significant increase reported in telemedicine by 82% in Karachi and 63% in the Bahawalpur Division.

Cite this article as: Ain, Q., Zaheer, M. U., & Afzal, M. (2024). Effect of COVID-19 on dairy farmers and provision of public sector veterinary services in Pakistan: A cross-sectional study. Acta Veterinaria Eurasia, 50(2), 135-140.

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