Farmers said prices of ingredients of cattle feed were increasing, resulting in the spiraling of cost of the production of milk and meat, according to a press release.
“We are at risk of closure in the face of soaring prices of feed,” said Mohammad Shah Emran, general secretary of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association (BDFA), which represents 16,000 plus dairy farmers in the country.
Cost of feed shot up 31 per cent to Tk 33-Tk 34 per kilogramme from Tk 25-Tk 26 six months ago, he said.
Earlier in the day, the BDFA held a press conference at National Press Club to place their 10-point demand before the government.
The BDFA said nearly eight lakh farmers were engaged in cattle farming and their numbers had doubled in the past eight years as a section of people signed up for milk and meat production to cater for domestic demand.
As a result of increased farming, milk production grew threefold and the country became self-reliant on meat, said the BDFA in the press release.
The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) estimated that meat production edged up 2 per cent year-on-year to 76 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2019-20 from 75 lakh tonnes in the preceding one.
Milk yield similarly increased.
Taking a person’s daily requirement of meat to be 120 grammes, the DLS estimated that the country had a surplus of meat.
“Yet, a large amount of meat is imported,” said the BDFA.
The association said nearly 50,000 tonnes of meat were imported in 2019, up from the negligible quantity of 1,885 tonnes the previous year.
“Dairy is neglected and suffers a lot despite the fact that this is a sub sector of agriculture,” said the BDFA, citing that the cattle farmers do not get advantages of reduced electricity tariff alongside tax benefits.
The association also demanded establishment of more powder milk plants to collect and process surplus milk from farmers during the peak season.
BDFA President Mohammad Imran Hossain was also present with others at the press conference.