Self-sufficiency in protein soon

The government is implementing a massive five-year project to bring about a revolutionary change in the country’s fisheries and livestock production, in order to ensure nutrition for all. Funded by the government and the World Bank, the Tk 4,280 crore project that started in January 2019 is scheduled to end by December 2023, said officials.

“Fisheries and Live Stocks ministry is implementing the ‘Improvement of Livestock and Dairy’ project with an aim to improve productivity and market participation in livestock and dairy sectors,” said a top ministry official, adding that implementation of the project is going on in full swing.  He said, “The project is being implemented in four phases. At present, the ministry is implementing the first phase which deals with increasing productivity of dairy products.”

Notable, a silent revolution has taken place in the country’s meat, fish, milk and egg production during the last ten years. During the time, the country experienced a steady growth in production of protein bearers. At present, Bangladesh is witnessing surplus meat production. An official from Fisheries and Live Stocks ministry said, “The government aims to become self-reliant in livestock production. If the sector’s current pace of growth continues, the country would become entirely self-reliant in milk and egg productions by 2021.” 

Besides, the government is now working to produce safe meat, milk and eggs and considering to export the products. Enhancing availability of dairy, egg and meat products, the project once implemented would drastically improve the nutrition scenario of the country, especially benefitting the children, pregnant women, and new mothers.

The project will help small-scale livestock farmers — half of whom are women — to adopt improved technologies.  It will reorganise the country’s basic livestock infrastructure, improving processing and marketing facilities as well as ensuring value change development. 

It will help the government strengthen the coverage of livestock insurance, aimed at protecting the assets and livelihoods of the small and medium producers. Mentionable, in Bangladesh, climate change affects livestock production. Keeping this in mind, the project will promote climate resilent and emission-saving practices in the sector and will address issues related to food safety, environmental pollution, anti-microbial resistance and animal welfare. The project will directly contribute to implementation of national climate change policies and commitments.

According to ministry sources, besides increasing livestock production in family level, the project also aims to improve resilience of small-scale farmers, agro-entrepreneurs, operation of selected livestock systems and value chains in targeted areas.   Experts said that it is necessary for all stakeholders to work together to develop the country’s dairy sector. Everyone can play vital role to contribute to the progress of the sector. The farmers have a responsibility to increase efficiency, reduce costs of milk production and take the necessary steps to avoid adulteration of milk, they added.

The prime activities of the project includes enhancing production of livestock sector, innovation, market linkage, development of value chain, developing climate-tolerant infrastructure for improvement of livestock, creating awareness among consumers, ensuring of nutrition and organizational capacity building.

At present, the country produces 94-lakh tonnes of milk annually against national demand of 150-lakh tonnes as hectic government efforts are on to attain autarky in milk production. The country saw 1.25 lakh tonnes surplus meat production after meeting its annual demand of 71.35 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 fiscal. And the meat production has increased by seven times in the last 10 years.