Donkey trade with China: Should Pakistan be worried?

Web desk – Last month, it came to light that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is planning to sell donkeys to China as a part of its Rs 1 billion Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-China Sustainable Donkey Development Programme. The intent of the programme is to bring in Chinese investment into the agriculture sector of the province.

According to cpec.kp.gov.pk, the programme would help develop the socio-economic status of those communities which reared donkeys for a living. This would be achieved by improving the health and production of donkeys to ensure a regular supply of donkeys to China that would also result in an increase in the income of donkey breeders and traders.

With the realisation of this plan, Pakistan will join countries like Kenya and Nigeria who are involved in the sale of donkeys to China. However, supporters of this programme should know that these countries are experiencing growing apprehensions about their sale of donkeys to China. There exist rising concerns in these countries that the sale of donkeys to China might deplete the donkey population to such an extent that the whole species might be wiped out.

A report published in TRT World, the international arm of the Turkish national broadcaster, the sale of donkeys and the illegal trade associated with it has had an adverse effect on the donkey population in countries like Kenya and South Africa. As a result of this scenario, some African countries have even banned donkey trading due to declining numbers.

China is one of the world’s biggest consumers of donkeys. Although donkey skins have no value in the African countries who sell them, they are highly sought after in China. Donkey skins are used in China in the production of traditional medicines. A gelatin present in donkey hides is used in making medicines that are believed to cure diseases like blood deficiency. Moreover, donkey meat is also believed to be more nutritious than other meats.

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