The government has taken a new initiative to meet the rising demands of beef, with a focus on moving away from import of frozen meat to domestic production.
Newly-sworn in Fisheries and Livestock Minister Narayan Chandra Chanda told the Bangla Tribune that importing cattle from India hurts the domestic cattle farmers. But the minister noted that meeting the demand for beef was crucial.
The government will be importing semen for the heavy cow breed Brahman from India. The government will also provide assistance to any farms producing Brahman bulls in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has an annual demand of 7,154,000 tons of beef. It is the primary source of animal protein in the country.
Minister Narayan Chandra said the project results should reflect within two to three years.
A properly maintained Brahman bull can weigh up to a ton. The Department of Livestock Services is currently producing proven bulls under the Breed Upgradation Through Progeny Test project.
According the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry, a total of 2,584,000 doses of semen were used for insemination between 2008-2009. It produced 2,271,000 cows that year. The number has since then grown with every year. Between 2016-2017, the semen dosage grew to 4,182,000 to produce 3,668,000 cows.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the government has rejected the request to import cattle from India.
Bangladesh Meat Merchant Association President Robiul Islam lauded the decision, saying importing cows from any other country would harm the domestic industry.
“It used to be that we would need a lot of Indian cows during Eid-ul Azha, but now domestic cattle are dominating the market. We should not import beef from any country,” he said.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune