Remarks by Consul General, Zachary Harkenrider Arrival of U.S. Cattle, Cheema Farm

Chahudry Muhammad Nasir Cheema, Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly and President of the Punjab Chamber of Agriculture

Chaudhry Usman Ali, Executive Director of Global Assets Management

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalam-o-aleikum and good morning.

I am honored to be here today to welcome U.S.-bred cattle to Pakistan. Our records indicate that this is the first time that U.S. cattle have set hoof on Pakistani soil.

They are going to contribute something new to Pakistan’s proud tradition of dairy farming. Native breeds like the Sahiwal, Cholistani, and Red Sindhi, along with the perennially popular buffalo have helped to make Pakistan one of the largest milk producers in the world. The livestock sector accounts for over 10 percent of your gross domestic product and is an important contributor to rural incomes. To further support this industry, the U.S. government funded Sahiwal dairy project has helped to upgrade 100 dairy farms to serve as service and supply hubs. Across Punjab, our project has created 7,700 new jobs and trained 49,000 small dairy farmers and 6,000 female livestock extension workers.

However, despite rising production and the trend to more commercial village and peri-urban dairy production, Pakistan requires more and more milk to meet the needs of its growing population.  The introduction of large commercial farms over the past decade is adding a new dimension to the dairy sector, introducing new breeds, technology, and methods of production. These cattle are emblematic of that change and I am hopeful that many of these new practices will be adopted by smaller dairy farmers.

For over 50 years, America and Pakistan have worked together to support your country’s agricultural development. One major success was the pioneering work of American Nobel prize-winning scientist Dr. Norman Borlaug and his Pakistani colleagues, including Dr. Muhammed Manzur Bajwa, to revolutionize agricultural production in Pakistan. Dr. Borlaug and his Pakistani colleagues developed a highly productive wheat variety that doubled Pakistan’s wheat production between 1965 and 1970. Their collaborative and innovative research led to a Green Revolution that made it possible for many people in Pakistan and around the world to avoid famine, as farmers’ production capacity could better keep pace with population growth. This long tradition of cooperation will continue at the University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences campus in Patoki, where, with the University’s generous support, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping to establish a university dairy herd that will serve as a training tool in modern intensive dairy production practices for veterinarians, animal scientists, and herdsmen. 70 cows from this recent shipment have arrived in Patoki where they will form the nucleus of this new demonstration herd.

The United States and Pakistan have also joined forces to combat Foot and Mouth Disease. Thanks to the monitoring and control efforts of veterinarians and thousands of Pakistani farmers, international recognition of Pakistan’s control efforts has improved. Similar efforts are being made to reduce the incidence of viral diseases in goats and reduce the incidence of harmful aflatoxins in the milk supply.

America and Pakistan share the goals of improving the livelihoods of farmers across Pakistan and increasing access to nutritious food for millions of Pakistanis.  When America and Pakistan work together, we achieve growth and prosperity, in Pakistan’s agricultural sector and beyond.

I would like to congratulate everyone gathered here today on their efforts to bring these cattle to Pakistan.

Thank you for joining us today to mark this milestone in our partnership.

Khuda hafez