Country’s dairy and poultry sectors are counting huge losses as sales of milk, eggs and chickens have declined drastically following the 10-day general holiday amid coronavirus outbreak.
Around 1.27 crore litres of milk worth around 50-55 crore remains unsold across the country everyday, said Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association President Imran Hossain.He said marginal dairy farmers are counting huge losses as sweet makers and other shops are not taking milk and chhana (curdled milk) from them due to closure of shops during the general holiday.
Due to information gap, local authorities are not permitting milk traders and milk farmers to sell their milk at local shops and markets, he said, alleging that most of the milk producers are being harassed by the local administration at the rural level.
The association president also said sale of milk has declined in the capital city and other big cities as most of the residents went to their village homes during the holidays.
Dairy farmers are being forced to sell milk at Tk 10 to Tk 12 per litre somewhere in the country while in other areas they cannot sell it at all, leaders of the association said.
Bangladesh currently produces 9.9 million tonnes of milk per year and meets the 70 percent of the total national demand.
Local milk processing plants buy only 5.0 per cent of the total production estimated at 1.3 million litres, with the rest being sold to sweet shops and institutions, which are now closed.Imran said the government support is needed to reduce the impact of lockdown since local and marginal dairy farmers earn their livelihood by selling milk and feed their family members.
He said if the government will not come forward then half of the dairy farms would go out of business.
Meanwhile, the country‘s poultry sector is also counting losses as the sale of eggs and chicken has declined drastically across the country. Many poultry farm owners have stopped buying hatched chicks, which contributes huge losses in the sector.
According to Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC), country’s poultry sector has counted a total loss of Tk 1,275 crore in the last 21 days.
Of the amount, chicken hatching sector has suffered a loss of Tk 271 crore while feed producing sector Tk 111 crore, broiler and egg producing sector Tk 868 crore, processing sector Tk 5 crore and medicine sector Tk 20 crore, said BPICC President Mashiur Rahman.
The pandemic has thrown these hatchery owners, labourers as well as the district poultry industry to a hopeless vacuum as the farm owners stopped purchasing chickens from them.
Mashiur Rahman said consumers have stopped coming to kitchen markets due to panic and harassment by the authorities, resulting in decline in sale of egg, chicken, fish and milk.
He said egg and chicken are now selling at half of their regular price.
The novel coronavirus pandemic brought the entire global economy to a standstill, and the rural small entrepreneurs in developing countries like Bangladesh, mostly concentrated in agriculture sector, are not immune to the effects.
Meanwhile, some people are disseminating misinformation on social media over poultry meat and eggs.
The price of poultry meat has fallen to Tk 40 to Tk 45 per kg whereas once it cost Tk 110 for producing a kilogramme of poultry meat.