A UNIVERSITY is the highest seat of learning, research and innovations aimed at helping the man-kind and other living beings. A university accommodates highly qualified and dedicated professionals and intellectuals to share their expertise, experiences and knowledge with devoted knowledge seekers (students). Universities contribute to poverty alleviation and the socio-economic uplift of nations.
The establishment of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Sakrand (1st in Sindh province and 2nd in Pakistan) chartered by Government of Sindh on 13th September, 2012 (SINDH ACT NO. XV OF 2012) is a milestone which will go a long way in the development of livestock sector and socioeconomic status of farming community The University owes to its existence to the fore-sight and vision of His Excellence Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, Ex -President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The need, for high quality educational institutes especially professional in the country, has been anticipated since long. The modern societies are knowledge-based and it is inconceivable to achieve socio-economic development or nation building without trained-manpower in scientific and technological fields, particularly in the areas of emerging sciences; especially in the field of Veterinary and Animal sciences.
A University of "Veterinary and Animal Sciences" is expected to impart quality education and produce trained man power in Animal health, management and production, conduct quality problem oriented research, help farming community by providing on-farm quality professional assistance and advice to improve health and production of their livestock which shall translate into the uplift of their socio-economic and living standard. In order to achieve these objectives, the following policies and programs must be implemented.
Over the years, livestock as subsector has surpassed the crop subsector as the biggest contributor to value addition in agriculture. The significance of livestock is evident from the fact that during 2019-20, it contributes 60.6 percent to the overall agriculture and 11.7 percent to the GDP during 2019-20. Gross value addition of livestock has increased from Rs 1,430 billion (2018-19) to Rs 1,466 billion (2019-20), showing an increase of 2.5 percent over the same period of last year.
Livestock has an important role in promoting socio-economic development in rural areas. Nearly 8 million families are involved in livestock raising and deriving more than 35-40 percent income from livestock production activities. The sector meets the domestic demand of milk, meat and eggs. It is a source of cash income, providing a vital and often the only source of income for the rural and playing an important role in poverty alleviation and foreign exchange earnings. This magnifies the role of all educational institutions imparting education in Veterinary and Animal Sciences. The university has been established with the specific objective of the development of Livestock and Poultry sector through proper and systematic education, training, research and extension in modern systems of Veterinary and Animal sciences and its allied sciences. Such as: Fisheries, Wild Life, Range Management, Silkworm, Bee Keeping, Dairy and Food Technology, Animal Business Management, Basic Sciences, Humanities and Information Technology.
The need of inculcation of self-reliance in students for securing coveted placements and addressing to the expectations of rural and urban sectors of societies can be met with increased Teaching-Research-Extension linkages.
The challenges of keeping abreast with modern trends of Research have been sharpened as well as facilitated on account of advents of Info-communication Technology (ICT) through which the world has been transformed into a global village.
Traditions are good to sustain but new paths are to be searched for growth. This requires innovativeness in ideas and freedom of action. We, as enlightened clan, are expected to convert challenges into opportunities.
Pakistan is affluent in livestock wealth but lacks ability to fully exploit this rich resource due to the insufficient investment, inadequate professionals, techniques and value-addition activities. The need for diversification from a natural resources-dependent economy to high-value added activities is eminent. The problems of livestock production are related to health, genetics, nutrition and marketing. The young professionals should be capable of improving production and yield through better management of germ plasm, nutrition and disease prevention. Competence of graduates in technologies, value addition in milk, meet, fish, wool, skin, hides and casings will facilitate equitable development of rural and urban livestock and will help self reliance, reduced imports and improvement in exports. While the role of vets as trained biologists is recognized by their contributions in multiple scientific disciplines relevant to WTO, food safety and above all human health, diversification, conservation and preservation of wild life, biotechnology, gene sequencing, developing and improving breeds are long awaited expectations from the veterinarians.
Finally I pray to Allah (SWT) that this university flourishes meet the expectations and achieve the objectives and accept and help conquer the challenges faced by Livestock sector and farming community of the country in general and the Sindh province in Particular.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Farooque Hassan