Milk Production in Pakistan

by Mr. Abdus Sattar

Over 750 million people are engaged in milk production around the world, mostly smallholders fulfilling their livelihood needs, food security and nutrition. World milk production was 522 million tonnes in 1987 while it escalated to 828 million tonnes in 2017 and augmented to 838 million tonnes having the share (82% cow milk, 14% buffalo milk, 2% goat milk,1% sheep and 0.3% camel milk) in 2018 [FAO,2019]. Milk production in developing countries of South Asia jumped after 1970, and the region has become a key player in world milk production. The region consisted of 745 million dairy animals that accounted for 21% of dairy animals in the world. The region was also home to 25% of cattle and buffaloes, 15% of sheep and goats, and 7% of camels in the world. Currently it is contributing about 200 million tonnes of milk that accounts around 20% of global milk production despite low milk yield of the dairy animals [Siddiqui, 2017].

In Pakistan, livestock plays an important role and grew at a rate of 4% in 2018-19, accounting for about 60.5% of agriculture value added and 11.2% of GDP. The importance of the sector can be realized from the fact that it is not only a source of foreign exchange earnings, but also a source of income for over 8 million rural families. Within the livestock sector, milk is the largest single commodity. Overtime, the higher growth in the livestock sector was mainly attributed to milk production [Economic Survey of Pakistan 2018-19].

Pakistan is the 4th largest milk producing country in the world. Approximately 80% milk is produced at small scale in rural areas ,15% peri- urban and 5% in the urban areas. Average annual milk production during 1960s and 1970s was 6.6 million tonnes and 8.1 million tonnes respectively. This increased from 12 million tonnes (1985-86), to 48 million tonnes in 2018-19, a qaudrupling in three decades.

Milk composition has also changed between 1985-86 with a marginal increase in cow milk and reduction in buffalo milk (67% buffalo, 31% cow and 2% goat, sheep and camel in 1985-86, to 60% buffalo, 36% cow and 4% goat, sheep and camel in 2018-19. About 97% milk is marketed in raw form and rest is processed (UHT), with 15 to 20% wastage in some areas.

Average household holdings are 2-3 cattle/buffaloes and 3-4 sheep/goats per family which help them to earn around 35-40 percent of their income [Economic Survey of Pakistan 2006-07] in Pakistan. Moreover 84% of households have a herd size of 1-4 animals while 14% have 10 and only 2% have more than 10. In terms of sheer quantity, the number of buffaloes, cows and goats has risen three times whereas the number of sheep and camel has doubled.


The province Punjab has the largest buffalo population, with 64 percent of the total, followed by Sindh with 26 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) with 7 percent, and Baluchistan with only 1.2 percent. Punjab also has the largest cattle population, with 48 percent of the total, followed by Sindh with 23 percent, KPK with 20 percent, and Baluchistan with 7 percent [Livestock census report (2006)]. The Punjab and Sindh are the major milk producing provinces, with annual production of 25.62 million and 9.35 million liters respectively. KPK produces an estimated 4.88 million liters per year, and Baluchistan 0.81 million liters (PDDC, 2006). Provincially, annual per capita consumption is highest in Sindh, at 246 kg. In Punjab it is about 132 kg, in KPK about 86 kg, and in Baluchistan about 108 kg. The average milk yield of the cow and buffalo is 14 and10 liters per day respectively.  It is still 5-6 times less than the developed world.

The average cow is productive for about 8 years, whereas a buffalo is productive for about 9 years. It worth noting that eight Pakistani milking animals producing milk is equal to one milking animal of the developed world. Average per capita milk availability (PCMA) during 1970’s and 1980’s, was 56 kg and 55 kg, respectively. It rose to 70 kg per annum during 1990’s and was 100 kg/annum in 2017-18.

During the last three decades, per capita milk availability has risen almost three times in Pakistan. Imports of milk and milking products were Rs.0.3 billion in 1975-76, which rose to Rs.1.4 billion in 1990-91 and Rs.3 billion in 2007-08 while Rs.20 billion in 2017-18. Thus, the question is that despite being the 4th largest milk producing country, why are we spending Rs.20 billion per year on the import of milk and milk products?


  1. Well analysis brother, But let me clear that why we import milk from abroad (Neighbor countries) if we are consider to be the fourth greater producing country in milk production…..So, the question arise there that we don’t managed it properly or anything else?????

    • Agree. People are uneducated. they don’t care about animals’ health and diet. Moreover, poor management is the main reason for less production.

    • firstly govt are not supported the farmers. secondly our old methods of production and low quality breeds of animals thats why

  2. well written Sir, I think the demand for milk product consumption is higher than its supply and increases in milk production are very low as compared to its demand. next thing is that our demand for milk product are mainly baby consuming product like cerelac cheese etc which we import largely. there is a large space in this market for investment to fully utilize milk production as a result, we can save billions of rupees.

  3. I am framer and milk producer why compain is strating against the open milk on social media or print media.i see add on different sites and pages against the open milk.nestle and olper purchased also milk from the farmer that’s why the compain is strating against the open milk

  4. One of the reasons for adaption of unprocessed milk is our developed mindset. We people perceive chiller as artificial milk and open milk sellers as natural. This perception must be changed in order to prevail the trend of processed milk.

  5. These campaigns have started to increase the market share of processed milk producers which is around 3% of total milk consumption in country. These large players are unable to compete on price factor that’s why they have started propagating against loose milk. This is the habit of corporate sector that wants to earn by hook or by crook. As the open milk producers don’t have a joint platform to represent their stance. The big mafia of UHT milk producers can easily manipulate market segment into its favor. This will lead to increase the market share of packaged milk producers. The decrease in market share of small farmers will lead to decrease their income hence they will be in poverty circle.

  6. we are 4th largest milk producing country but there are some basic weaknesses of our dairy sector that’s why we import milk like
    Lack of appropriate technologies for tropical climate conditions.
    Erratic power supply.
    Lack of awareness for clean milk production.
    Underdeveloped raw milk collection systems in certain parts of the country.
    Seasonal fluctuations in milk production pattern.
    Regional imbalance of milk supply.
    Species-wise variation in milk quality received by dairy plants.
    Poor productivity of cattle and arable land.
    Scarce capital for investment in the dairy development programmes on a priority basis.
    Absence of proper data records which is essential for preparing development programmes.
    Dairy development programmes have not been fully implemented as per the needs of the region in different agro-climatic zones.
    Lack of marketing avenues for the dairy produce.
    Lack of software for preparing needed dairy schemes/projects.
    Lack of infrastructure for offering Dairy Business Management programmes to train dairy personnel.

  7. Need to be very careful in allowing trade liberalisation policies dictated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over our dairy sector. The small and landless farmers are responsible for a majority of the milk production. Milk is not only the basic source of nutrition for a whole range of products (milk, butter, deli ghee, lassi) but also livestock rearing and breeding are critical livelihood components for small producers. With high levels of unemployment, land concentration in hand of very wealthy powerful feudal elite, we should be protecting our farmers who are responsible for not only feeding the entire nation, but also a source of livelihood for nearly half of its population.
    The campaign against farmers is unethical and illegal. It should be challenged in court. Farmers who feed the whole nation to be portrayed as unkempt dirty villains is offensive not only to our farmers but the entire nation. The standardisation of milk is a Neo-colonial ploy being used by mega corporations who want the milk market in their hands and send our people into further poverty, hunger and malnourishment

  8. Sorry but your statistics are wrong.
    828 MT of Production? Where are you getting these inflated numbers?
    Research a bit more and modify the blog please.

    • I wonder too. What is the total milk consumption in Pakistan? What is the total milk production per day in Pakistan? I tried the internet but every piece of information is different on the above subject

  9. Hi
    We start a dairy cow form in Islamabad rural area. We sale milk to company. Can help us how sale this

  10. Hello everyone! what would you guys suggest then? if farmers and companies on the other hands are involved in this activity and they both have their own objectives, for farmer to make money being a bread runner for his house, and for company to earn market as much as possible. so what could be the alternative then to to make them both satisfy? how they both can work together to fulfill their objectives?

  11. I wonder too. What is the total milk consumption in Pakistan? What is the total milk production per day in Pakistan? I tried the internet but every piece of information is different on the above subject

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *