Livestock industry posts strong growth

Livestock industry posts strong growth

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Livestock industry posts strong growth

Number of cattle was up 8.9 percent in 2011 due to government support.

Sheep and cattle numbers, as well as milk production, increased significantly in 2011, the head of the Turkish Chambers of Agriculture Union (TZOB) said yesterday, noting that the government’s support for Turkish farmers was bearing fruit.

The number of sheep increased 8.4 percent in 2011, Şemsi Bayraktar said, adding that there had been a 15.6 percent increase in goat numbers, 8.9 percent for cattle and 11.2 percent for milk production.

The data compiled by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) showed that the percentage of cattle in Turkey increased by almost 9 percent year over year, reaching 12.4 million. There are now 25 million sheep in Turkey, while the number of goats is 7.3 million.

In terms of meat, milk and wool, the increase in the number of Turkish sheep is of critical importance to the future of Turkish animal husbandry – especially if numbers can reach 40 million to 50 million, he said.

“The number of sheep and goats can easily be increased two-fold, and this would completely make up for our meat deficit. The remaining animals could be exported and therefore, at this juncture, it is crucial that the government continues and increases its support for the Turkish animal husbandry sector,” said Bayraktar.

In line with the increase in the number of animals, there has been a similar increase in milk production, which went from 13.5 million tons to 15.5 million tons in 2011 in increasing 11.2 percent, according to the TÜİK data. This is the first time milk production has reached 15 million tons in Turkey, said Bayraktar.

Meanwhile, honey production in Turkey also jumped by 16.2 percent in 2011 from 81,115 tons to 94,245 tons, according to the data.