Bangladesh: Still Strong in Poultry Production

BANGLADESH - The outlook for the poultry industry is still bright, despite the effects of bird flu, say local experts.
calendar icon 2 June 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

Bangladesh's long-term outlook as a leading producer of poultry products remains bright despite the bird flu outbreak that has held off its potential, speakers at a meeting said yesterday.

The Daily Star reports that the remarks came at a matchmaking event between a group of Thailand livestock equipment makers and Bangladesh's poultry sector people at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.

VIV Asia, a Thailand-based platform for the livestock sector that gathers the industry's technology and professionals around the world, organised the event.

Bangladesh is one of the key players in the South Asian livestock industry, especially in poultry industry, said Ladda Mongkolchaivivat, general manager of NCC Exhibition Organiser Company Ltd of Thailand.

About 80,000 poultry firms and up to 20 poultry feed factories operate in Bangladesh. The industry has been growing at 20 per cent annually in the past 15 years.

Ms Ladda said: "Unfortunately, there is a current bird flue outbreak. This is a definite setback, but we all generally agree that Bangladesh's long-term outlook remains bright.

"There is an impressive growing local consumption on one hand and encouraging potential for export on the other hand."

She added that VIV Asia Forum in Bangladesh is a superb platform for Bangladesh to explore business and investment opportunities.

The livestock sector is the integral part of the agro-based economy, said Partha Rathi Sarker, director of the extension of Department of Livestock Services.

He said there is a huge opportunity in the poultry sector that can not only give much-needed nutrition to the general people but also create employment opportunities.

The official, however, said the government alone will not be able to make most of the opportunities. He said: "So the private sector needs to come forward and invest in new technology and research."

M.M. Khan, secretary general of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association, said Bangladesh could follow Thailand in advancing its poultry sector.

He said the sector is going to be very important for Bangladesh because of its vast population, and their rising income that warrant more eggs and meat, saying: "With Thailand, we have many things to share with."

Bangladesh's 30,000-crore industry directly employs five million people but Mr Khan said the sector could employ more people and contribute to the economy if the government extends right policy support.

He continued that the sector could not be subjected to hypothetical decision on the issue of bird flu. "The number of poultry farmers has reduced to about 90,000 from 150,000 due to 2007-08 outbreak of the bird flu scare," he stated.

He said despite the vast population the per-capita consumption of meat is one of the lowest in the world, adding: "There is a market and there is no alternative to the poultry products."

Mr Khan, also the managing director of Advance Animal Science Company, said the sector is part of the agriculture industry, so the government should give required facilities to its stakeholders.

"By 2021, the poultry sector will be a 60,000-crore industry, employing one crore people," he said.

He said Bangladesh requires cooperation from Thailand to flourish the poultry sector. "We are struggling despite the sector has a huge potential. We want practical help, not the hypothetical one that can kill off the industry," he added.

Mr Khan said credit facilities for the sector should be made available at five per cent interest rate so that the industry can grow further.

More and more entrepreneurs are becoming interested about the poultry sector, said Kazi Zahedul Hasan, president of Breeders Association of Bangladesh.

He said Thailand has progressed a lot in the poultry sector in the last 15 years but Bangladesh could not match their progress.

"We need highly sophisticated equipment and materials for growth," he said, urging the Thai equipment makers to make the technology more affordable.

Cherdchai Sinsarng, president of Thai Livestock Equipment Association, and Panadda Kongma, project coordinator of NCC Exhibition, were also present, according to The Daily Star.

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