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Strong livestock sector for vibrant rural economy

Published : 20 Jun 2020 09:42 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 06:37 PM

The livestock sector will keep the rural economy strong despite the country’s economy passing a critical time for the deadly coronavirus.

The country's overall businesses have seriously been affected due to the pandemic, which has created huge unemployment.

On the other hand, many expatriates have returned home while some new visa holders cannot go abroad for lockdown in most countries which may create a negative situation in the economy.

Experts said the livestock produced in the country is a great achievement of the livestock sector.

Although meat and milk production have rapidly increased in several years, the country is still dependent on importing a large portion of those products to meet higher demand, they mentioned.

This sector has more opportunities for people, especially youths, to build a successful career, they added.

If the dairy industry is developed in a planned manner, they said adding, it will not only save foreign exchange, it will also provide employment to a large section of the youths.

According to the Department of Livestock, the production of all types of animals including cows, goats, ducks and chickens has been almost 39.31 crore in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The farmers of the country are producing about 46.8 million pieces of eggs and 3,027 crore tons of chicken every day.

The annual milk production is about 99.23 lakh tons.

On the other hand, the meat production is about 76 lakh tons.

Although meat production is equal to demand, there is a shortage of milk.

As a result, milk worth Tk 2,621 crore had to be imported in 2018-19.

In the first eight months of the current 2019-20 fiscal, milk was imported in excess of Tk 1,998 crore.

Industry insiders said to boost the rural economy, poultry and dairy farms can play a vital role.

It is necessary to set up small scale processing factories in the villages, they said adding that the livestock sector can play an effective role in utilizing fallow land to meet the demand for raw and grass-fed fodder.

It is possible to change the financial situation quickly by getting good profits from this sector, they mentioned.

As a result, it will be possible to reduce rural poverty quickly if production increases in the livestock sector by rising investments, they said.
Managing Director of Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Limited Abu Lutfe Fazle Rahim Khan Shahriar said the livestock sector is suffering the most during the Corona period.

In order to overcome this situation, small farmers have to be registered and brought under subsidy, he said adding that the government can create huge employment, especially of youths by providing training and financial support.

In this context, agricultural economist and former director general of the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) Jahangir Alam said the country's livestock sector is flourishing in a kind of neglect and deprivation.

Although there is a possibility, we are not developing the sector, he mentioned.

The transformation of the rural economy has collapsed due to the coronavirus, he said adding that only the livestock sector could recover the losses of the rural economy.

“There is no need for anything special. The government can provide a little training and some funding to the youths to move forward in this sector,” he mentioned.

More than 1.5 million young people engaged in dairy and poultry industries got success, he said adding that it is possible to increase several lakh more youths in this sector.

Jahangir said the livestock sector will be self-sufficient only if we develop the marketing system as well as the skilled manpower.