Asif Ha­meed †

PhD Pro­ject Tit­le

Yak husbandry and its contribution to rural livelihoods in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

Ab­stract of PhD The­sis

The yak (Bos grunniens: domesticated; Bos mutus: wild) is a long-haired humped bovid, a multipurpose animal that can survive in a low oxygen and cold environment at an elevation of 2000 to 6000 meters above sea level. The animal has the ability to graze diverse foliage from coarse shrubs to short grasses. The majority of yak population is living in the Central Asian highlands, which include parts of Tibet, China, India, Pakistan, nepal and Bhutan. Yak rearing in Pakistan is bounded to higher elevations (3,500–4,500 meters a.s.l) of Gilgit-Baltistan, where yak is an important means of livelihood through the provision of milk, meat, dung,  hair and hide. The Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan has an estimated population of 25,000, of which the livelihood is based on subsistence agro-pastoral activities, with low agricultural productivity caused by climatic constraints. The area is generally poor and resources deficient, physical infrastructure is inadequate, and off-farm employment opportunities are very limited as the wage labor sector is underdeveloped. The majority of the rangelands in Gilgit-Baltistan are regularly grazed beyond their carrying capacity. The overgrazing can be attributed to two main factors: lack of a grazing management system, and lack of a proper land tenure system, in which the sustainable use of grazing lands seems to be no one’s responsibility as they are a common asset. During times of feed scarcity (winter, spring), livestock death is common, especially in years of heavy snowfall. Supplementary feeds, such as hay or crop by-products, are generally not available except in very small quantities, and mostly for weak animals. The prime issues faced by yak husbandry and the yak-raising communities in Gilgit Baltistan include low productivity, lack of grazing and rangeland management, demarcation and closure of borders (restrictions on grazing on trans-border pastures), uncontrolled mating, poor disease management, lack of veterinary and extension services and lack of markets for yak produce.

Given the mentioned developments, yak husbandry is under increasing ecological and social pressure and is furthermore threatened by inbreeding, which decreases the animals’ body size and productivity, and by declining access to alpine pastures due to climatic irregularities, landslides and lack of workforce.

In view of the above-stated challenges to yak husbandry in the area, it is important to study how the ongoing changes affect yak-farmers’ livelihood strategies centering around this livestock species. A detailed analysis of the contribution of yak to the households’ food supply, employment and income generation and the respective effects of different yak management approaches will help to formulate policies aiming at sustaining poor rural communities of Gilgit-Baltistan.


<link http: fb11agrar en sections animal-husbandry-in-the-tropics-and-subtropics prof-dr-e-schlecht.html>Prof. Dr. Eva Schlecht

Re­se­arch In­te­rest

Animal Husbandry in different production systems, Domestic Animal diversity, Livestock management, Sustainable Livestock Production for improved Livelihood

Edu­ca­tio­nal Back­ground

2006 - 2009

M.Sc (Hon’s) Livestock Management from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan

2002 - 2006

B.Sc (Hon’s) Animal Husbandry from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Pro­fes­sio­nal Ex­pe­ri­en­ces

Jan 2013- Aug 2016Program Manager, Lok Sanjh Foundation, Islamabad, Pakistan.
May 2009 - Dec 2012Research Associate/Project Coordinator, Lok Sanjh Foundation, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Mar 2008 - Apr 2009Research Associate, Project “Dissemination of Technologies for profitable dairying at farmers level” University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Awards / Scho­lar­ships

2006 - 2009

University Merit Scholarship during M. Sc (Hon’s) Program at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.



  • Visualizing Desert: People, agriculture, livestock and livelihood, Asif Hameed and Muhammad Tariq 2016 ISBN # 978-3-659-88333-0, Lambert Academic Publishing, A research study about THAL desert: Ecology, settlement pattern, livelihood opportunities, challenges and solutions.
  • Rain Fed Livestock Production Systems in Punjab Pakistan, Asif Hameed 2015,  ISBN # 978-3-659-71139-8, Lambert Academic Publishing, A research study about Prevailing Livestock Production trends, Economies, and Constraints in Rainfed Livestock Farming systems of Punjab.
  • Welfare of Equines, Asif Hameed 2014, ISBN # 978-3-659-57288-3, Lambert Academic Publishing, Assessment of Inhumanness factors and Cruelty Concerns in Equines.

Research Papers:

  • Hameed, A., M. Tariq and M. A. Yasin, 2016. <link http: journals jasft archive june pdf>Assessment of Welfare of Working Donkeys and Mules Using Health and Behavior Parameters.  Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Technology Vol. 2 (5), pp. 69-74.

  • Bilal, M. Q., A. Hameed and T. Ahmad, 2009. <link http: docs>Prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in buffalo and cow calves in rural areas of Toba Tek Singh, Pakistan. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences, 19(2), 67-70.

  • Bilal, M. Q., A. Hameed and B. B. Khan, 2008. <link http: agris-search>Evaluation of calf management related technologies at farmer’s level under technology transfer project. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 45(2), 177-180.

  • Bilal, M. Q., A. Hameed and B. B. Khan, 2008. <link https: papers>Assessment of dairy farm management practices under field condition of Toba Tek Singh. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 45(2), 237-241.