Some 30 to 35 million people are engaged in the livestock industry. Camels are used for transport throughout the more barren south and west, and bullocks and donkeys elsewhere.
Sheep range widely over the grazing lands of middle and northern Pakistan; the bulk of their wool is exported. Among local breeds of cattle, the Red Sindhi, the Tharparker, the Sahiwal are renowned for milk, and the Bhagnari and Dhanni for draft purposes. The production of powdered milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream is carried out by several large dairy plants. From 1984 to 1990, milk production increased by 41%, and meat production rose 48%. Even so, domestic milk production still falls short of demand. Poultry production has recently became prominent, especially through scientific research in breeding, feeding, and disease control. With the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, several livestock development projects are currently underway.
In 2001 there were 23.3 million buffaloes, 22.4 million head of cattle, 49.1 million goats, and 24.2 million sheep. Commercial poultry numbered 170.1 million broilers and 10.36 million layers in 1999. There were also an additional 108 million poultry kept by people in rural areas. Modern poultry production in Pakistan is constrained by high mortality and incidence of disease in chicks and an inefficient marketing system. The livestock industry contributed 37% to the total value of agricultural output in 1998/99, and 9% to GDP. Production estimates for 2001 included (in tons): beef, 428,000; mutton, 508,000; poultry, 338,000; wool, 39,200; and milk, 7,338,000. In an effort to increase domestic milk production, the government has initiated a comprehensive livestock development program with $55 million in assistance from the Asian Development Bank. The government has also broadened extension and artificial breeding services, taken measures to improve slaughterhouses, and introduced high-yield fodder varieties. Cattle dung is an important cooking fuel and fertilizer.