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Govt Support Needed to Grow Poultry Sector

by 5m Editor
17 October 2011, at 8:55am

BANGLADESH - Government support is called upon to support the poultry industry, which can contribute not only to feeding a growing population but also to reducing unemployment.

The poultry industry in Bangladesh has multi-dimensional prospects, reports Financial Express of Bangladesh. It has already shown some promises about increasing protein availability of the country's vast population. Traditional poultry – reared naturally and in an unplanned manner – have been the mainstay for many years.

The needs of the growing population highlight the need for planned breeding of poultry birds to cope with the higher demand. In this context, planned breeding of poultry that started from the 1980s is now a well established field of activities in the country.

According to statistics available from operators in the sector, there are now about five grand parent stock farms, 40 to 50 parent stock farms and hatcheries, 70,000 to 80,000 poultry farms and 15 to 20 poultry feed factories in the private sector. The sector is also poised to grow rapidly.

It has already posted growth of some 20 per cent in the last 15 years. Owners and operators in the industry are confident that it could grow rapidly in the coming years and create employment opportunities for another 10 million people. The employment would be created mainly among the current jobless at the grassroots levels. This is certainly a piece of heartening news for an economy that suffers from a heavy burden of unemployment.

The poultry industry is not only meeting local needs very substantially; it has also found newer opportunities from value addition. Food industries have grown up based on chicken that produce soups, nuggets, sausages and other products in accordance with the changing preferences of the customers. Some of these local poultry-based and value-added products have found some export markets as well. The export trend looks otherwise encouraging.

But the faster and fuller realisation of the potential of this sector also requires government's supportive measures. The association of owners in this sector have been endeavouring to draw the attention of all concerned to the needs of such supports.

Financial Express cites here the case of maize, which is the basic matter for making chicken feed. It needs to be imported. The industry importers have requested for fiscal incentives to facilitate cost-effective import of maize and other feeds. There are other raw materials and medicines which need importing for the poultry industry and its operators also expect the government to opt for some worthwhile fiscal concessions in this connection.

The government should examine such requests sincerely and meet them to a reasonable extent, says the newspaper. Extension of such incentives and also the availability of bank credits at favourable rates are likely to create the environment for further brisk growth of this sector.

There is also another vital area where the government can contribute the most. This is in the area of monitoring and regulation. A great deal of resources were lost in this sector in recent years from avian influenza and the consequent culling of birds. One estimate says that some Tk 550 billion could have been lost, thus, from 2007.

Thus, the relevant agencies of the government will have to improve and extend their monitoring and regulatory functions, according to Financial Express. Specially, governmental supervision to create conditions for healthful breeding of the birds in the farms, is crucial. Thus government has to conduct extensive countrywide monitoring and preventive activities all the time to detect cases of bird flu and offset any turn towards its break-out in epidemic form.