In Pakistan there are no dedicated beef breeds consequently beef meat is a by-product of the dairy industry in the form of cull cows and male calves. Smallholder farmers supply up to 80% of animals slaughtered and decisions to sell their animals is driven by a need to generate cash in a time of necessity rather than in response to market signals. The aim of this study was to identify and evaluate beef market opportunities for smallholder farmers with the objective of increasing their income from their beef animals. Using a rapid value chain assessment seven potential beef markets in Punjab and Sindh were assessed and one was studied in detail to evaluate the opportunities and risks for smallholder farmers in beef value chains. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with beef value chain actors including; consumers (10), retailer (1), traders (12), feedlot farmer (1) and smallholder farmers (9). The interview data was analyzed using content analysis within value chain framework comprising of different flows (product, information and financial) and relationships among the chain actors. The results indicated that supplying directly to the retailer was indeed a potential opportunity for smallholder farmers provided they can meet product specifications. This study describes what capacity building support would be required to enable smallholder farmers to implement more focused and cost-effective rearing strategies leading to a reliable and consistent supply for this retailer. If successful, this could be used as a model for market interventions for other farmers leading to increased beef production and profitability.
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