The country's dairy farm sector leaders on Monday urged the government to impose anti-dumping duty, and increase import duty up to 50 percent in the next budget. Terming imported powder milk substandard and subsidized, the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association also urged coordination in pricing of liquid milk with the prices of milk processing companies, and also to develop a management to preserve the milk, produced by local farmers.
The association placed an 11-point demand at a press conference at the National Press Club, including ensuring the fair price of liquid milk of farmers by coordinating the inflation in last 15 years. President of the organisation, Imran Hossain read out a written handout at the press conference, while among others, general secretary, Shah Emran, AGM of Milk Vita, Mostafizur Rahman, and President of Dairy Development Forum, Umme Kulsum Sinthy also spoke on the occasion.
Imran Hossain demanded withdrawal of duty on importing dairy feed and machinery, fixing utility bills for farmers under agriculture instead of under commercial consideration, offering tax holiday for dairy farmers like poultry and fish industries, for 20 years. "Dairy farming is one of the best businesses in the agriculture sector. The sector has covered 19 percent of GDP in the last 7 years, the number of dairy farms has increased to 12 lakh with production increasing by 94 lakh MT in 2018.
Presently directly or indirectly 94 lakh people in the country are involved in dairy farming," he added. He claimed that up to 70 percent of the total demand for milk is met by local production. People are now much more food-conscious so demand for milk has increased significantly. Speakers said, in 2011 the demand was 13 lakh MT when dairy farmers produced 2.95 lakh MT, in 2017-18 the demand increased to 15 lakh MT, and now local farmers are producing 9.4 lakh MT leaving a deficit of only 5.60 lakh MT.
They opined that if the government does not start providing stimulus to dairy farmers from now, the sector will really fall in crisis. They alleged that the local farmers are not given subsidy, but milk powder imported from EU states having subsidy is making local dairy farmers incur loss.