GENERAL HISTORY, INTRODUCTION AND IMPORTANCE OF THE STATION
Livestock sector in Pakistan plays an important role in development of agriculture in rural areas and adds a lot to the national economy. It has an important role in poverty alleviation but due to lack of modern diagnostic facilities, unawareness of modern livestock management techniques and veterinary research a lot of problems are in front of livestock farmers.
Veterinary Research and Disease Investigation Center (VR&DIC) Balogram, Swat was established in the year 1988-89with the objectives to provide quality diagnostic services, conduct field oriented research and supply quality vaccine to farmers of the area. Since establishment, the Center has been contributing enormously to achieve these mentioned objectives in a befitting manner.
Malakand Division is rich in livestock wealth and different systems of livestock rearing exist in the area. In recent past animals and poultry were primarily kept for subsistence but due to commercialization and increase in population intensive and extensive modern livestock and poultry farming is budding in the division. These new trends are providing jobs and are sources of income for local human population of the area. VR&DIC is playing a key role in bringing people towards modern livestock and poultry farming through advisory and training services. Lush green alpine and sub alpine pastures are abundant throughout the area providing excellent grazing for pastoral herds during summer. Fodder cultivation is practiced down the valleys. Traditionally, hay and crop residues are fed to livestock during winter due to non-availability of green fodder and grasses. Animals consume roughages and other poor quality feeds and convert them to high quality human food like meat, milk and eggs. They also give skins, wool, hair and other valuable products. Thus, these are contributing substantially to the economy of the area and the whole country. However, the local farmers are facing problems which are limiting livestock productivity. These include animal ailments and deaths, lack of adequate veterinary assistance, deficiency of feed during cold months of the year, lack of education/ training, poverty and other related hazards. Depletion of high land pastures due to overgrazing and deforestation is also alarming. Such issues and challenges need due public and private attention.
History of Establishment
Since the inception/establishment of VRI in the year 1949 in Peshawar, it was in a small building with limited staff and other essential infrastructure to undertake essential activities of research on livestock/poultry diseases, production of veterinary biologics/diagnostic agents apart from to meet the demand of the province, its function was to cope with the need across the country including the defense services, and supply to neighboring countries of Afghanistan and Iran etc as well, in cases of diseases outbreaks.
All such facilities were being extended from this unit at Peshawar (i.e. VRI) to the far flung areas of the province with tremendous problem. Consequently it was seriously felt that self supporting branches are needed to be established, including this at Saidu Sharif, Distt Swat. As an urgent action in this regard in the preliminary stages, for interim period till the planning and construction of self sufficient infrastructure, it was planned to depute a working unit from the VRI, Peshawar for the extension of the desired services to the livestock & poultry farmers. Ultimately in the year 1984-85 with the view to extend research & diagnostic facilities and advisory services to livestock and poultry farmers/community of the far flung areas of the Province, divisional Veterinary Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VR&DL) headed by a Veterinary Officer (Research) were established temporarily at CVH, Saidu Sharif, Distt: Swat.
Infrastructure Development under Project Implementation
In the year 1986-87, a developmental scheme was approved in response to Deptt Sub Committee meeting held on November 12th, 1986 from the ADP of the then Government of NWFP (Agriculture, Forest and Cooperation Department) with THREE (03) years financial phasing for the establishment of VR&DL at Balogram Swat on a land area of 06 Kanal and 16 M (37022 Sq.Ft), with an approved cost of Rs. 3.830 millions. (Actual Cost = 4.050 Millions).
Annual commencement of the project: Mar 1987
Actual completion of the project: June 1989
Completion Period: 33 Months
After completion of the project during the year 1988-89, the centers was converted to non-developmental side on permanent basis (current expenditures), and had been working at Balogram, Distt Swat, headed by DD(R)/SRO (BPS-18) who acted as officer in charge under the admin control of the head quarter (i.e. director VRI Peshawar), for the extension of the desired services along with the provision of adequate vaccines storage facility round the year to meet the emergencies.
PC-I Objectives of Centre (PC-I titled “Estt of Diagnostic Lab at Saidu Sharif Swat.”).
According to the approved PC-I (FY 1986-87) of the project for the establishment of the centre titled “Establishment of Veterinary Research & Diagnostic Laboratory at Saidu Sharif, Swat, Malakand Division”, the objectives of the project preferable in quantitative terms are to:
In order to accomplish the divisional demands, during the financial year 2006-07 to 2008-09, the provincial Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa approved a scheme titled “Up-gradation of VR&DL to Veterinary Research Station (North), Balogram, Swat” with a total cost of Rs. 20.000 Millions to upgrade the centre to cope with the desired extended needs of the area. During the centre’s life extended from the 1984-85 since its establishment through 2005-06, means the period lapsed since it’s establishment as a unit, the following projects has been approved and under taken out in the center as detailed below.
LIST OF PROJECTS UNDER TAKEN IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATION
2005-06 to 2007-08
ALP (AREF) PARC, Islamabad.
2006-07 to 2008-09
Geographical Location of the Center
The center is easily approachable and is located on kalam bypass (hardly at a furlong distance from Balogram chowk) at a distance of 05 Kilometers South-West of Mingora City, the main city of the district adjacent to the divisional headquarter Saidu Sharif, Swat. Geographically, this is a central point of Malakand Division. Malakand Division includes the districts of Swat, Lower and Upper Dir, Buner, Shangla, Chitral and Malakand Agency. The fascinating location of the Center on Thakhtaband (Kalam) bypass road is reflecting the splendid valley. Lush green fields and sky kissing hills in the surroundings are looking very charming. A new block recently constructed has added to the outlook of the station. These natural panoramas are making a better working environment for disposing of technical activities/services of the organization is equally substantial.
Importance of the Center
Veterinary Research & Disease Investigation Center, Balogram, Swat being pioneer of its sort in the north of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and a unique center in the entire Malakand Division has the mandate to conduct quality research of prevailing animal issues, provide diagnostic services for livestock, pet animals and wild life department of the entire Malakand division. Malakand Division comprises of Districts of Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir (lower), Dir (Upper), Chitral and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) Malakand Agency. At present the Center comprises two divisions namely; Division of Infectious Diseases and Division of Non- Infectious Diseases, dealing with the Microbiological aspects and Parasitology and nutritional disease/disorders respectively. Each division comprising of two sections headed by a Research Officer, under the supervision of a divisional in charge, Senior Research Officer. In addition to the routine diagnostic and research programs of the center, these divisions have been extending research facilities in various relevant disciplines of microbiology and parasitology to the graduates and undergraduates students and postgraduate scholars of different universities including:
University of Agriculture, Peshawar
Sindh Agriculture University (SAU), Tandojam
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore
Hazara University, Mansehra
University of Swat
University of Malakand.
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, sheringal, and
Kohat University of Science & Technology.
Results of the research, so undertaken are published in the form of thesis and/or research papers in various scientific journals of national and international interests.
Quality vaccines are being procured and stored at Veterinary Research and Disease Investigation Center, Swat for provision to the farmers of the area. The center is also extending excellent diagnostic services and imparting basic trainings to the interested farmers. Sub centers in Tehsil Matta and kabal are also providing diagnostic services to the farmers. We are coordinating and collaborating with a number of NGOs i.e. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Association of Biorisk Management (ABM), universities and other public and private sector organizations. Research regarding field issues is encouraged through involvement of postgraduate students of various national universities. The scientists of the organization are keen in planning and formulating research proposals for future implementation.
MAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE CENTER
Assisting VRI for Vaccine Supply in Malakand Division.
Outreach activities like Farmers awareness camps, field days etc.
Collaborative and linkages with universities and Govt: departments and other organization
FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTER
The center has been working for the uplift of their main functions as follow.
The policies framed and implementation under these objectives of livestock development are targeted at achieving the self-reliance and improvement of productivity of animal products i.e. milk, meat etc are;
It is being planned to upgrade this station to the level of institute servicing the public in the North as a full pledged institution to meet the future demands for the uplift of the Livestock sector.
SANCTIONED STAFF STRENGTH