With the third highest donkey population in the world at more than five million, Pakistan plans to make millions of dollars annually in foreign sales.
The livestock department of the South Asian country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province announced this week that it will develop donkey farms in coordination with China. The farms were described as the first of their kind in the country.
“Agreements will be signed with the Chinese government as well as registered companies,” KP officials were quoted as saying by GEO TV.
The officials said that foreign countries like China had expressed desire to invest hundreds of millions in donkey farms in Pakistan.
“Chinese companies are interested in donkey farms, and foreign companies are ready to invest $3 billion in them,” they said.
The province is expected to export 80,000 donkeys in the first three years.
“Over 70,000 households in the province are dependent on donkeys for their source of income, thus we want to sign agreements after thinking carefully as we do not want a scarcity of the animals in the province,” the livestock department said.
It revealed that only Punjab’s provincial capital of Lahore has more 41,000 donkeys. The province’s government has even set up a ‘donkey hospital’, where treatment is provided free of cost.
According to donkey breeders, the animals can cost between Rs35,000 ($491) and Rs55,000 ($772). China, which has a shortage of donkeys, highly prizes the animal, mainly for its hide used in traditional medicines. The most famous variety of donkey gelatin, ejiao, is produced in East China’s Shandong Province.