NEW DELHI: Pakistan, whose economy is in dire straits, has an occasion to rejoice, as it has registered a big rise in the population of donkeys, a big foreign exchange earner for the country.
The donkey population in Pakistan has increased by 1,00,000 during the financial year of 2020-21 to reach 5.6 million, according to the country’s latest Economic Survey.
The number of donkeys has increased from 5.5 million to 5.6 million, according to the Survey which was quoted by the Pakistani media today.
The economic survey said that the total number of animals in the country increased to 21.31 million compared to 20.7 million during 2019-20.
However, the big increase in population of donkeys is significant for the economic crisis-hit Pakistan as the animal is a major export item, especially to China.
There is a huge demand for donkeys in China and the animal is highly priced there because its hide is used to manufacture traditional Chinese medicines.
Gelatin made from the skin of donkey has long been considered to have medicinal properties in China.
In 2019, the Pakistan government had decided to give special attention to increasing the population of donkeys with an aim of exporting as many as 80,000 of the animal breed to China.
In a bid to boost the country’s exports, Pakistan’s Livestock Department had announced two years back that it will develop donkey farms, first of its kind in the country.
Viewing the huge donkey potential in Pakistan, Chinese companies had also shown interest in farming of the animal in the country, with investments to the tune of billions of dollars.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government in 2019 had initiated donkey projects, called ‘KP-China Sustainable Donkey Development Programme’.
At least two donkey farms were set up in Dera Ismail Khan and Mansehra with foreign partnership.