Donkeys Are Increasing In Pakistan, But China Wants Them More | What's The Craze?

The population of donkeys saw an increase of 100,000 to reach 5.8 million during the fiscal year 2022-23 in Pakistan, as compared with 5.7 million during the previous one.
The population of donkeys has significantly increased in Pakistan

The population of donkeys has significantly increased in Pakistan

New Delhi: Pakistan, which has been reeling under a severe economic crisis with most of the sectors impacted, in its Economic Survey 2023-24 - a pre-budget document detailing the country’s major socio-economic achievements during the outgoing fiscal year - said that the livestock sector was emerging as the largest contributor to the agriculture sector.
Of the total cattle population, the survey revealed that the number of buffaloes grew from 43.7 million to 45 million. The population of sheep and goats increased to 32.3 and 84.7 million respectively. But one of the interesting findings of the survey was that the population of donkeys saw an increase of 100,000 to reach 5.8 million during the fiscal year 2022-23, as compared with 5.7 million during the previous one.

Why Donkeys Are Crucial To Pakistanis

For Pakistanis, donkeys are very useful, particularly in rural areas where the economy is closely tied to livestock. Often used for transporting goods, donkeys support agricultural activities in the country. But, there is more to it.
Pakistan, according to a report in Gulf news, plans to earn millions of dollars annually in foreign exchange just by exporting donkeys to China. Pakistan, according to the report, has the world’s third largest population of donkeys with more than 5 million animals, while China stands at number one.

Why China Needs ‘More’ Donkeys

China’s traditional medicine, known as e-jiao, is leading to the killing of millions of donkeys every year, a Reuters report said, quoting animal welfare groups and veterinary experts. E-jiao, which is made using collagen extracted from donkey hides, is the vital ingredient in food and beauty products. It is believed that this ‘medicine’ enriches the blood, improves the immune system, and prevents diseases. Due to increasing demand, China is importing donkeys from other countries and Pakistan possibly is trying to get some edge here being a ‘friendly’ neighbour.
According to the Reuters report, China’s donkey population has fallen from 11 million in 1992 to 2 million in 2024, prompting its e-jiao industry to source donkey skins from overseas.
E-jiao, traditionally a luxury product, gained popularity among the masses due to the rise in elderly population, and this medicine seems to have some anti-ageing impact.

Donkeys, A Hope For Pakistanis In Crisis?

Donkeys may be the last hope for many Pakistanis, particularly for those residing in rural areas, where the local economy heavily relies on these animals. According to the survey unveiled by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, livestock, which accounts for 60.84 per cent of the agricultural sector and 14.63 per cent of GDP, grew by 3.89 per cent in 2023-24, up from 3.70 per cent last year.
The gross value addition of the livestock sector has shown an increase, rising to Rs 5,804 billion in 2023-24 from Rs 5,587 billion in 2022-23, marking a growth rate of 3.9 per cent. In the broader economic landscape, the livestock sector has solidified its position as the primary driver of agricultural growth, comprising approximately 60.84 per cent of the agricultural value added and 14.63 per cent of the national GDP during FY2024.
Priya Pareek author

Priya Pareek is a journalist with Times Network and has over 8 years of experience in the media industry. Passionate about breaking news, Priya also l...View More

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