Bangladesh is an agricultural country. It has an agrarian economy consisting of general agriculture, livestock and fisheries, agricultural engineering, veterinary etc. Among them livestock and dairy is one of the most important sectors in our national economy. Its contribution and importance is increasing day by day to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the increase of population and economy. The contribution of the animal farming sub-sector to GDP at a constant price of 1.66 in Financial Year 2015-2016 according to latest data which is the smallest in comparison with our neighbouring countries. Sources of animal protein like milk, meat, (beef, and mutton, chicken) and eggs are essential for human health. A healthy nation or a healthy workforce can achieve a healthy economy. If we want to achieve a sustainable development in our future, we must pay attention to a sound and healthy workforce and overall human development. Nowadays we are thinking of food autarky and food safety in our country. But without more dairy farms or dairy products, it is quite impossible. Milk is an ideal food in food science and meets all the nutritional needs of the body. All factors of food exist in it. Many doctors advise milk and milk-products to their patients for the development of both the brain and the body. For that reason, we should find out the possibility of more production of milk and its allied products. The present government is giving importance to this sector to meet the increasing demands of the people. For this, the government is patronizing and giving incentives to both public and private sectors for livestock development by improving artificial insemination of cattle, cattle breeding, veterinary hospital in each district, technical and financial support to the Central Animal Research Centre, training and consultation services. Some data are given below about the development and growth of livestock within a certain period:
Development And Growth Of Livestock:
Sources: Department Of Livestock Services (DLS)
Production Of Meat And Milk
Sources: Department Of Livestock Services (DLS)
These data show that growth and production of livestock is increasing every year but it is not up to the mark and does not match with the increasing demands of the masses. Every year we are importing milk and milk products from foreign countries costing thousands of dollars. Another set of data shows that though the number of Bovine (livestock) animal is increasing but number of animals per holding is decreasing in the rural areas. The data are given below:
Sources: Statistical pocket book-2016.
We have the potentiality of more production of livestock animals, milk and milk products. We have many rivers in our country. Most of the banks of the rivers are usually grabbed by illegal occupants. If we can establish or set-up dairy farms or such other agro-based industries under public or private initiatives on the banks of the rivers, we can increase production of milk and allied products in future and we can earn more revenues from internal and external sources as well. There is a huge possibility of export of these items.
Benefits of setting-up of dairy farms:
1. Availability of adequate water resources near riverside.
2. Abundant production possibilities of indigenous or hybrid grass for animal’s feeding on the bank of the river.
3. Reduce of river erosion.
4. Stopping illegal occupation of riverbanks.
5. Protection and demarcation of khas land and other government properties.
6. Create more employment opportunities and self-employment activities.
7. More production of milk and milk products.
8. Accelerating more supply side than demand.
9. More exports and inflow of foreign capital and foreign investment etc.
The present government has a project and slogan “one house one farm” for the rural area. If we can motivate our rural people to set-up more dairy farms in the rural areas, it will help to increase the number of animals per holding. If we give more attention to increasing dairy farms exclusively, this will help other allied sectors like leather industry, leather products and leather goods. Leather sector is now a thrust sector in our country. Some multinational companies like BATA are doing well in this sector. Some new indigenous firms are coming to this market. It is a good sign. We want to diversify our export basket to increase export income. It will be successful if we are determined to nurse and develop the potential sectors of our economy. It is necessary for the government to patronize and offer strong financial and technical support to this sector.
The writer is an Additional Land Acquisition Officer, in DC Office, Dhaka. He can be reached at: E-mail: muzibur