Transformation of cattle markets through technology

Muhammad Jawad Pasha

Cattle markets of Pakistan have the capability of taking the country’s economy to the new heights and become an ideal place for trade. Agriculture is already the second biggest sector of country’s economy contributing 25.1% to the total GDP. Livestock being the major most sub-sector of agriculture, accounts for 9% of the total GDP. But unfortunately its potential has not been realized yet. The key factor in making these markets productive is their modernization through the introduction of the advance technology.

The major bottle neck in changing the status from “Cattle market” to “Business market” is the inability to hit the harder international markets like Europe for export. These countries have strict rules and regulations for importing livestock to avoid the spread of diseases among human and animals. The overall standards of Animal husbandry and pasture management in our country are very low, causing a high disease rate in the cattle.

To get the access to these markets, it is vital to introduce the Animal Registration System in our cattle markets. This modern animal tagging systemresembles the Motorway E-Toll and NADRA systems. This system will make identification of animal possible through the production chain and into the food products. In this way, the animal’s origin can be traced incase a problem is found in animal or its meat anywhere in the world. This will help us maneuver the factors that degrade the quality of cattle, creating hindrance inletting it make it to the international markets. Implementation of Animal Registration System will assure the quality control and gain the confidence of the customers.

Earning the clean chit from the West for the export ofcattle, may turn out to be a massive break though for the country’s struggling economy. This will attract more private and government investors that are currently reluctant to invest due to the low income in this industry.

Improving the export is not the only advantage this system brings in to play, it counters another important issue, “Social Unrest”. In the nation, where most of the population resides in the rural areas and 90% of dairy farming is household, on average there are 2-3 animals per house that are not only the source of milk but are also  liquid assets and are used to earn them some serious amount of money for important occasions like marriages and medical treatments.Due to poverty and lack of security, cattle rustling has become very common in the rural areas and cattle markets. It has been a cause of serious tension among the society and increasing crime rate in the region.

Animal Registration system is also equipped with the solution to tackle this problem. The intelligent tags applied to the animals, makes it trackable. The stolen or lost animal can be recovered using this technology. Tracking has globally provedto be extremely successful in countering the theft of precious assets hence making the societies safer and peaceful.

Poor management and criminal activitiesare the issues faced by the public and the cattle merchantsin cattle markets. The root cause of these problems is the unavailability of a monitoring mechanism. The lack of performance monitoring and accountability has reduced the efficiency of the security and other staff.

It has become very important to introduce the advanceCCTV surveillance and security systems in the cattle markets to improve the work efficiency of the staff deputed in the cattle markets. It also allowsthe management teams to monitor the market trends helping them perform their planning in a better manner. Existence of Surveillance and security system directly benefits the public and traders and builds their confidence on the management, improving the overall trade in the cattle market.

The facility of fodder sale points is available in few cattle markets with the government defined rates. But it is impossible to monitor and control the rates and weight manually. Sellers have been selling the fodder at their desired rates and also being dishonest in weight measurements of fodder costing the cattle merchants hundreds of rupees daily.

Point of Sale technology should be practiced at the fodder sale points in cattle markets.It is similar to the mechanism adopted by the large grocery stores in their fruits and vegetable sections, where the rates and weights are controlled and monitored through a centralized system and customers get the receipt for every purchase. POS system eliminates the complaints of cattle traders regarding overcharging and over weighting of fodder.

Introduction of modern technology in cattle markets is the need of the hour, if we want to grow as a nation both economically and socially. It will create new opportunities for the professionals from all the domains, especially the ones belonging to veterinary and information technology. It will directly facilitate the common man and the people involved in this business at any level. Most importantly, it can take these markets to the whole new level and transform them into something more productive and make them deliver to their potential.

The writer is a Manager IT at Lahore Division Cattle Market Management Company. He can be reached at mjawadp@hotmail.com

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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