The Punjab government has formulated an extensive policy to preserve, protect, strengthen and improve the livestock thereby creating self employment avenues for the youth in the state. This was stated here today by Mr. Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Animal Husbandry Minister Punjab while presiding over the first meeting of the State Advisory Committee of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries.The Minister emphasized the need of developing Poultry ,piggery and fisheries besides dairy development, with a view to improving economic prosperity and nutritional standards of the people of Punjab. The government would also extend training facilities to the farmers for piggery and production of improved exotic breed piglets for supply to pig farmers for rearing.Quoting statistics, the minister said that as per the latest livestock census carried out in the year 2007, there were 17.61 lac cattle and 50.04 lac buffaloes in the state. Out of this the breed able cows and buffaloes were 10.31lac and 29.08 lac respectively. Punjab was the major milk producing state in the country with an annual milk production of 94.23 lac tones during the year 2010-11. It contributes about 9% of the total milk production of the country though it has less than 2% of total cattle and buffalo population of the country. Per capita availability of milk in Punjab was 931 grams which was the highest in the country, said Mr. Phillaur.Referring to the import of superior quality germ plasm, the Minister said that superior quality germ plasm from best bulls of exotic origin with daughter yield of more than 12000 litres per lactation would be imported for giving fillip to breed improvement programme. This would result in increasing milk production to the level of 30 ltrs. per day in cross bred animals. Besides, high genetic sexed semen would also be imported for the production of female calves for increasing milk production. For the development of fish farming in the state, the Minister said that there were 6300 ponds developed by the village panchayats besides 2500 private fish farms in the state. The Punjab government would encourage fish farming on scientific and technical lines. About 11,287 hectare area of Punjab was under fish farming, said Mr. Phillaur and about 50,000 youth have been engaged in direct or indirect employment in Punjab . The Government has also imparted special training to the youth interested in fish cultivation.