in Business

Meeting Malik Hanif, the Unicorn breeder

Feeling big about travelling hundreds of mile in my not-so-comfortable car to just ‘meet’ with someone who has reached the epitome of success as I’d define it, I was already happy that I was in Hafizabad. The person I was to meet has been breeding Unicorns it seems.

I have a direct interest in the business of agriculture, and recently been involved in setting up dairy farms. I have visited a few, read about the different techniques, applied them to gauge results and talked to all sorts of people in the business of livestock. Here’s what I have gathered so far, related to the selection of cows vs buffalo:

  • Buffalo suck. Buy cows if you ever want to be profitable in this business

That’s pretty much all that I have heard and read about. From SMEDA to PITB to every ‘serious’ businessperson in between, buffalo are the ones that had got to go. You can already see the effect of preferring the imported cows versus our own indigenous buffalo in brands like Prima, that proudly claim to give out 100 percent pure cow milk.

The reasons quoted for ditching the Buffalo completely are not many, but are simple enough to understand i.e. the buffalo, on average gives 6 to 8 liters of milk over the 10 month lactation period. The imported cows give anywhere between 20 to 30 liters. The difference in milk yields is more than significant to convince any would-be entrepreneur to write off buffalo completely.

But I have been in the milk business for the last three years (via my other project, Kemaak) or so and I know that selling cow milk is harder. People are more attuned to the high-fat, relatively sweetened taste of buffalo milk. I had a direct interest in keeping buffalo in my dairy farm, instead of cows. That is where Mr. Hanif comes in with his unicorns.

He breeds buffalo that give, on average, 15 to 18 liters. When I heard it, I was sure that this is the Unicorn i.e. a myth borne out of the sheer desire of people to have buffalo that can give high yields of milk. I found the unicorns to be not-so-mythical after all, when I met Mr. Hanif in his 100 Acre orchard. Nestled in this orchard is his small farm of animals, both cows and buffalo.

And you know what was the first thing he said when I asked him about his method of operation? “I don’t do it for the money, I do it because I love these animals.”

His herd size is hardly 20 animals, but the milk yield is more than what other people I know produce with 80 or 100 animals. He proudly told me that in the last 4 decades or so, his love for buffalo and his desire for excellence (his own words) has given him the finances to buy 100 acres of land, put his children through 16 years of education and have given him respect that only winning 5 Presidential awards in Cattle Breeding can bring. And after saying this, as an after though, he adds, “I did not do it for the money though”

The buffalo are highly priced, but they are proof of concept. Apart from proving the inefficiencies of our government and private enterprises for developing the indigenous buffalo breed of Nilli and Ravi, the buffalo at Malik Hanif’s farm are proof of concept that when it is from the heart, it is far better.

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40 Comments

  1. Dear Momekh you are doing a great job here. May Allah reward you… In one of your comments you mentioned that your cows give 80 to 100 litres of milk per day…. Can you suggest where can we purchase such cows in Pakistan… Thank you.. I would be very grateful

    • Such freak cows are not possible Hassan! I must have mentioned the total number of liters from my cows!! A good quality cross-bred local cow gives anywhere between 15 to 20 liters per day. And that’s for the period of lactation (i.e. approx 10 months). So over a year, the average comes to around between 11 and 14 liters per day. Hope I’ve made my point clear, friend? :)

  2. Hi, great blog, I am also currently in the process of travelling thousands of miles to buy animals, so it would be great to have a contact number of malik hanif or a similar authentic buffalo breeder, please

  3. Long time ago (90’s) when we had buffalos, we had a buffalo whose milk average was 20KG+ and for some months average crossed 24KG. This buffalo stayed with us for about 6 years and ultimately died. So it is very much possible to get 15-20KG milk from buffalo.

  4. sir just wana say ur doing too much for us i just feel that some one care us thanx buddy …..can i have ur number may God helps u ever ameen…

    • :) hey thanks Mr Ghuman! JazaakAllah …

      The best way to contact me is via this blog or the contact page :) Thanks again janaab

  5. Aslam-u-Alikum brother Congratulation on winning the Best Business Blog award and thank u for the number of Mr malik hanif may Allah bless you .i wish you all the best in life
    regard arsalan khan

  6. hello brother how r u ? i hope fine . well my bro i love animals want to do something which help Pakistan. i want to start a business of livestock and i did a research on internet and found this article. brother can you give me the number of Mr malik hanif or similar people from where i can buy the animal . i pray may Allah help you because from your experience many people can learn. and people may not have to travel 2000 km because of you. you have save there time and money . may allah bless you

    • Thank you for the prayers Arsalan.

      Please contact me via email for the phone number – I do not want to place someone’s personal number on a public website. :)

  7. Dear Haris

    Thts really nice to hear, could you advice on some below points which might be helpfull for us.

    1. where your farm is situated?
    2. which type of cows you have kept?
    3. What are you using as fooder?
    4. What is the average of per cow?

    Best Regards

    Abdul Muqeem

  8. Dear friends i am the owner of dairy farm that includes 15 cows and i am very happy the way it is producing milk. last year i had 10 buffaloes but i wasn’t satisfied so i shifted to cows and i am very much satisfied now.

  9. Dear Momekh, please can you provide/send me yours mobile or any other contact number, mine contact num is 0345xxxxxxx and email burhi20xx@email.com If you can help, I also would like to setup a farm. (ed note: please try not to paste your personal contact details on a public forum, thanks)

  10. Dear Momekh,

    thanx momekh for having u on this site with outstanding information and advice. i have started dairy farm initially having two animals and now total of 17 animals in my farm. as u have discussed about malik hanif and his love for his animals and also about him keeping quality breed buffaloes. plz share his contact phon no with me on my email add : asad_ullah2001@yahoo.com.

    regards

    Asad

  11. Dear Momekh
    We started of with a farm near Attock about 21 animals. Out of them about 6 of them were in lactation period. these are Sahiwal breed cows and were given to us by one of our friends. The initial yield of these animals was arround 17 litres in total but that too reduced to about 8 litres a day. so i am spending arrounf 70-80000 rupees per month from my pocket leave aside the initial temperary setup that i had established for these animals.
    Now someone told me to dispose off a few animals out of these specially the two big bulls that i have and get a few freziens to improve upon the yield of the farm to make it atleast self sustaining if not profitable.
    I am also planning to start a project on the same lines as that of KEEMAK. actually i have found out about 100 clients who need pure milk and i intend supplying them milk at their doorsteps from attock. For that I would need your input. with this I will come to the required input from you or anyone on this blog.

    1. Can some one give me a drawing for an ideal shed for about 20 animals.
    2. Where from can i get good cows ?
    3. Which breed is most economical in terms of their price vs yield?
    4. Can i do something to inprove the yield of the existing sahiwal breed ?

    Someone asked about the Embryo transfer (ET). There is a centre of excellence and bovine genetics (CEBG) which has been established by army near Okara. They are the only people having this tech and are also transferring the same at a very reasonable price but their services for the time being are limited to the areas surrounding Okara only.

  12. AOA
    I have gone through most of the discussions latest technology for good quality cow for milk and meat is Artificial Insemination ,whereas in other developed countries Embrew transfer is highly regarded and useful technique .If anyone know how to access this tech in Pakistan.
    thanks

    • For further details on Embryo Transfer you can contact me on 03005343763. But before calling please sms me.
      regards
      aamer

  13. AOA,
    Mome kh,

    i want to start a dairy farm adjacent to lahore ,currently what i am seeking is an economical & right design of a shed & contact #of Mr Malik Hanif or urs (if possible) .kindly share with me the details my email id :shahzakh@gmail.com.

    Thanks & Best regards

    Shahzad

  14. hey Momekh it is nice to hear you comments and information you have given so far.

    Myself is also intrested to start this business near Phool Nagar on Main Multan Road. As far as i understand it is more usefull to keep good breed buffalow rathen than keeping cows

    Please correct me if i am wrong?

    • Both can be viable but only and only if you go for high quality buffalo. Most buffalo will give an average of 8 liters per lactation, and that’s just not feasible.
      If you are starting out, I suggest you do what I am doing; I am starting with cows, I have 8 milking cows right now, when I reach 15 inshAllah, I will then buy 2 to 3 buffalo (high quality one, possibly from Malik Hanif maybe). I want to look at this from a ‘breeders’ perspective as I believe that is the correct way of looking at this business.

      Cows are ‘easier’. IF you buy good quality cows, that is. But do not be discouraged from our indigenous buffalo.

      Hope this has helped.

  15. Hey there Momekh. Can I get your email address.. I was looking to understand the methodology of a dairy farm here in karachi and needed some general information from you..

  16. Dear brother thanks allot for your cooperation,,, actually for quiet some time i have been collecting data regarding starting this business,, but ill be starting from a very small scale of 50 animals. The only thing i am worried of is how am i going to sell the product?????? for that i will consult few players in the market and if you could also help. I am in Dubai these days completing my studies, soon i will be back for my summer holidays and inshallah will see you… i am also residing in Lahore soo hope to see you then… Regards, A. DAR

    • :) … I am very much in Lahore. The farm is located near Pakpattan. Nothing much to see there by the way, I have 8 animals right now, averaging around 95 to 100 liters per day. But you are most welcome… it is the farm visits that really gets the mind going.

    • Dear Momekh, please send your mobile or any other contact number on my email to get some valuable information from you regarding setting up a dairy form and also purchasing animals etc…. its khalid_khudadad@hotmail.com…regards

    • This guy lives in Hafizabad. Contact me (use the contact form, or hit reply button from one of my emails that the subscribers to this blog receive), and I will give you his contact number. :) Pass him my salaams though when you do talk to him…

  17. Hi Momekh

    Just wanted to know that, does Mr. Malik also sell these buffalos after breeding? If so, what is his average sale price for a buf yielding 14-18 on average? Would you kindly share his contact/address?

    • He does sell them. One of my friends in the dairy business has bought three buffs from him (two female, one male). The results are satisfactory (but not 20 liters, as claimed). This doesn’t mean that Mr. Hanif here was dodging us in any way, it just happens – we bought animals after all, not machines, and the difference is not huge; the buffs are giving around 15 to 18 liters, last time I checked, which is still UNHEARD of as far as buffalo are concerned.

      His contact number: just use the contact form to contact me, and I will give you the number there.

  18. Yes, Hasan, these are the kind of people we need. But I doubt if you will be allowed to raise any dairy animal in your backyard :/ … welcome to urbanization.
    A lot of ‘consultants’ very aggressively not only promote, but discourage anyone going for buffalo, for very valid economical reasons. But as my ‘glancing’ and very-much anecdotal research has shown, a lot of good people are getting getting really good results from the buffalo.

    And where are you these days, Hasan? Back?

    • Salam Brother, I was wondering if you could just give me an idea on the
      Average Monthly Cost of a Herd of 20 Cows. How Much feed a cow consumes per month. And, if possible, How much does that feed cost per month. I know the feed prices keep on changing. Just a rough idea would be great. And, do you know some-one who could provide feed in Abbottabad Village Area. Thanks for the help. Take care

  19. I so very much feel like raising a Buffalo in my back yard. It’s the people like Malik Hanif we need to turn our economy around. People who work on indigenous resource development instead of easy imported solutions…