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S UPPLEMENT

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t was in 1995 that the poultry industry
started in an organized manner in
Bangladesh. In just 16 years the
industry has seen exponential growth.
Investment in the sector stands at about
20 thousand crore taka. Its growth rate is
about 20%. There are over a hundred
thousand poultry farms, small and large,
across the country, eight grandparent
stock farms, 130 parent stock farms and
hatcheries, and 50 or 60 poultry feed
mills. About five million people are
involved, directly and indirectly, with the
industry and approximately 50% of them
are women. A large section of the
marginalised rural people earns their
living through this industry. Of the 18.6%
of the GDP which comes from the
agricultural sector, one third is from the
poultry industry. Credit certainly goes to
the private sector entrepreneurs in this
sector. However, now the poultry
industry has been pitched into
uncertainty and the question is how long
will these entrepreneurs be able to hold
on to their success?
The poultry industry faces all sorts of
threats and risks. PROBE’s investigations
have unearthed all sort of information
about the sector. Various diseases and
epidemics, increase in the price of
chicken feed, ploys by foreign companies
to takeover the market and, above all,
weak policies of the government, are
throwing the industry off balance.
Several entrepreneurs have spoken to
PROBE frankly about their present
predicament.

high Price of PouLtry feeD
The rise and fall in the price of chicken
and eggs is directly related to the rise and
fall in the price of chicken feed. About
70% of a poultry farm’s expenditure is
for feed. And about 50% of this feed is
corn. And the protein portion of the feed
comprises soybean meal. Only 50% of
the demand for corn is met locally; the
rest is import from abroad, mainly India.
Only 10% of the required soybean is
produced locally, the rest being
imported. The other components of
chicken feed like enzymes, toxins,
proteins, binder, etc are all dependent on
import. Five years ago corn was sold for
eight to ten taka per kg in the local
market and soybean meal for 12 to 14
taka per kg. Now corn sells for 23 to 24
taka per kg in the local market and
soybean meal for 33 to 34 taka per kg.
Owners of the poultry farms say that the

Poultry
industry
at risk
The poultry industry is booming in
Bangladesh, but if the government
does not take certain precautionary
measures immediately, it will all
collapse
by ANWAR PARVEZ HALIM
production of corn has fallen globally
due to climate change. Production rates
have also gone up. This has pushed the
price of chicken feed up. And the impact
of this falls on the price of chicken and
eggs.
Mashiur Rahman, Chairman of
Paragon Group, says, “As the price of
feed is going up due to the increase in
international prices and the economic
slump, the government should make
arrangements to keep prices stable and
also offer subsidy to the sector, along
with easy-term loans. They should also
allow import of medicines on easy
terms.”
Shamsul Arefin Khaled, Director of
Nourish Poultry and Hatchery, says,

“Corn is the main component of chicken
feed. We should focus on producing corn
locally so as to cut down on imports. This
is possible through private enterprise,
but the government must provide
facilities to the agro-sector. Unless this is
ensured, this industry, so full of
potential, will not survive.”
The annual demand for corn in the
poultry
sector
at
present
is
approximately 12.5 lac metric tonnes. In
the dairy and fisheries sector the annual
demand is five to six lac metric tonnes.
So the total annual demand for corn is 18
lac metric tonnes. Yet only 7.6 metric
tonnes of corn is produced a year locally
(Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics 20082009). The government has imposed 5%
AIT on import of corn, so that comes to
40 paisa per each kg of imported corn.
Yet only 15 to 20 paisa profit is made
from the sales of the feed made up of
these imported ingredients.
Fazle Rahim Khan Shahriar, Managing
Director of Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Ltd,
says, “Taking into consideration the
limited resources of the people and their
purchasing capacity, the government
should not impose any conditions on
import of items for the poultry sector.
The import policy must be made easier.”
Paragon’s Mashiur Rahman says, “On
one hand the government makes it taxfree, on the other hand it imposes annual
tax and income tax. This is not at all
conducive for the poultry industry. If we
are tied down like this, the industry will
never expand.”
foreigN coMPANies’
iNcursioN iNto LocAL MArKet
Several foreign companies have entered
Bangladesh’s poultry market. These
include Thailand’s CP, India’s Godrej
and VH group, as well and several
others. They may not be that many in
number, but their investments are
massive compared to any of the local
companies. Instead of setting up any
new infrastructure here, they are renting
already existing poultry farms that had
closed down and are running importbased poultry businesses. Local poultry
farm owners claim that the main
objective of these foreign businesses is to
capture the market here. They are
bringing in medicines, feed and other
finished products at cheap prices from
their own respective countries and are
doing business here. The local companies
cannot stand up to such competition.

12
October 28 - November 17, 2011

these farmers cannot sell these chickens directly in the market. Egypt. They are the ones who make the extra profit by first supplying the chicks.” DeMAND. This is totally unethical. Vietnam. In July and September this year.” BirD fLu criPPLes the iNDustry According to the report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. The concerned ministry of the present government has not taken any measures to this end. Chicken and eggs are cheaper than any other form of protein and their demand is more too.550. Fazle Rahim Khan. The poultry industry can play a strong role in this regard.50 Sri Lanka 9. The disease spread fast and wide as proper measures were not taken at the time. The supply was way below the demand and it still remains so. the local companies shut down.100. Indonesia and Bangladesh. The bank interest rate in their countries is very low.00 China 11.00-10. They must be kept out of the tax holiday umbrella.00-7. These agents or dealers have www. bird flu has taken a permanent shape in six countries at present and it will take at least 10 years to eliminate the disease from these countries. but are taking this back to their respective countries.com emerged as the middlemen. suPPLy AND Deficit According to a report of 2010. These middlemen are mainly the agents of the breeder farms. Yet we are taking bank loans at high interest rates and so it is hard for us to face this competition from the foreign companies.” He feels protein is essential for a working nation.00-8.” parvez1966@yahoo. After rearing the chicks for 30 to 35 days. There must be stricter laws in place for the foreign firms.00 Pakistan 7. says. chicken is the alternative. Additional taxes must be imposed on imports for foreign companies. beef 270 taka per kg. Chairman. “Indian companies sell their medicines and feed here for two or three years at a low cost. Manikganj and comparative chart of chicken and egg prices in Bangladesh and other countries country eggs (taka per piece) Philippines 8. 2011 .November 17.” says Kazi Zahedul Hasan. Shamsul Arefin. the disease broke out in poultry farms in Chuadanga. Shamsul Arefin of Nourish says. The dayold chicks are sent from the hatcheries to the marginal farmers through them.S UPPLEMENT Mohammed Morshed Alam. says. Once they do that. Director of Nourish. but are obliged to sell these to the middlemen.000. At that time three million eggs were produced a day. they will be able to market feed here at low prices and our local feed mills will all shut down.” “If the poultry industry is to flourish and expand here. Naogaon. the weekly demand for day-old broiler and layer chicks was 7. Shamsul Arefin of Nourish feels this is unethical. was first detected in the country.50-10. He says. “The foreign companies are not investing their profits here. or bird flu.00-11. “Indian companies are planning to set up their feed industry along the border.” Fazle Rahim Khan of Aftab Bahumukhi Farms says. Bird flu still prevails here. The GGP (Great Grand Parent) sector must be made compulsory for foreign companies.probenewsmagazine. effective and strong measures. And if foreign investment is made. Fish costs at least 300 taka per kg.75 Bangladesh 6. the target was to have yearly production of 100 eggs and six kg of chicken per head. “If we can resolve the problems immediately. But immediate steps must be taken to remove all obstacles to the growth of this industry.” Several poultry businessmen have said that if the banks provide the farmers with loans on easy terms. permanent infrastructure has to be constructed.00-7. Khulna. They cannot afford to buy the chicks directly from the hatcheries and so are dependent on the agents or dealers. They even extend loans to the farmers on certain conditions.000. So people turn more towards chicken. So there was a weekly deficit of 2. a new policy must be put in place. The poultry industrialists feel that the disease can be eliminated if the government took timely. Jim Animal Health Ltd. The poultry farm owners readily admit this. medicines and feed to the farmers in credit. “In order to prevent bird flu and other diseases. Kazi Zahedul Hasan says.” On a positive note. Weekly production was 5.00 kgs of chicken per head. so they take full advantage of that. poultry businesses must place stress on bio-security management.50 Thailand 9. Fish production has fallen in the country due to climatic reasons. Also. feeder farms and the medicine companies.” The poultry farm owners feel that if the industry is to be saved from foreign invasions. These countries are India. According to the government’s reports.000. Managing Director of Kazi Farms. And the government has the same policy for local and foreign companies. voices his apprehension. The Indian government offers the poultry industry there all sorts of facilities. Their taxes should be increased and import of finished poultry feed products stopped. The government must come forward in this regard or it will not be possible to keep this industry alive.8 to 2.00 chicken (taka per kg) 180-190 220-230 155-165 140-150 130-140 145-155 190-195 Mirserai and hundreds of thousands of chickens had to be destroyed. within 10 years this industry will provide employment for 10 million people.00-4.” the MiDDLeMeN syNDicAte It is the marginal farmers who make the most important contribution to production of broiler chickens in Bangladesh. mutton 400 taka per kg. The government also needs to take action against the middlemen’s syndicate.650. the government has to reconsider its policies in this regard. China. “Meat and fish are the main sources of protein in the country. but the annual production is only 30 to 35 eggs and 1. This is much below the demand. Not being able to stand up to the competition. “We have decided to break up this syndicate so that the farmers can buy the chicks directly from the hatcheries. Then the Indian companies hike up their prices and rake in the profits.50 India 4. It was in 2007 during the caretaker government that avian influenza. foreign experts should be called to the government’s policy-making meetings so that an effective work strategy can be drawn up to save the local poultry industry from extinction. To fill this vacuum. MD of Aftab. then the middleman will lose their clout.com 13 October 28 . The farmers must be able to reap the profits of their hard labour.