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Dhaka Tribune

Proper vet service can boost milk production

Update : 02 Nov 2013, 06:35 AM

If the community-based approach to delivering veterinary services could be ensured for the country’s small dairy farmers, they will able to give a tremendous boost to milk production.

“A large number of cattle are inseminated in the country every year, but the framers are not getting the desired result for lack of proper veterinary service delivery. If the veterinary service could be brought to the farmers’ level, they will be able to boost milk production in their firms,” said Prof M Musharraf Uddin Bhuiyan, chairman of Community-based Dairy Veterinary Foundation.

About four million artificial inseminations were performed in cattle in 2012 in Bangladesh, of which 2.6 million were carried out by the Department of Livestock Services, 1.3 million by Brac and 100,000 by Bangladesh Milk Producers Cooperative Union Limited, with its brand name ‘Milk Vita’. Currently, artificial insemination services cover 40% of breedable cows in Bangladesh.

Musharraf Uddin said artificial insemination began in 1960 to increase milk production.

“High-yielding cattle, especially crossbreeds involving exotic breeds, suffer more from health problems and need more inputs of feed and health care than do native, locally-adapted cattle. Sometimes crossbred calves needs special care and more food,” he said.

Aiming to help farmers address this problem, he informed that scientists in 2000 at the Bangladesh Agricultural University worked with local stakeholders established a Community-based Dairy Veterinary Foundation to deliver production-related veterinary services in four dairy-producing areas of Bangladesh (Satkhira,Sirajganj, Chittagong and Mymensingh).

“We’ve started delivering a productivity veterinary service to small farmers at the community level. We help framers form associations so that they can market their firm-produced milk.”

He said farmer associations deliver milk to chilling centres set up by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (Brac) Dairy and Food Project, and revenue for the CDVF is generated through a negotiated commission per litre of milk delivered.

The revenue is then used to pay dues for services to the CDVF. TheCDVF delivers a package of on-farm activities, not only to prevent infectious and zoonotic diseases, but also to sustain production.

Prof Musharraf Uddin Bhuiyan, also a teacher of the Department of Surgery and Obstetrics at Bangladesh Agricultural University, said the CDVF has appointed a number of veterinarians to provide services to the small dairy farmers at community level.

“One veterinarian works for one association and the community animal health assistant assists the veterinarian. A veterinarian visits 10 farmers’ houses every day and provides emergency animal healthcare, routine vaccinations, reproductive animal healthcare and other.

Services, and feeds cattle medicine to check for worms,” he added.

A recent report released by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization shows that if individual farmers cannot pay the cost of PVS, members of a community of 250-300 farmers that collectively produces milk per day can put aside a small portion of their individual income from milk to enable them to pay together the cost of services.

Prof Musharraf Uddin Bhuiyan, and Taohidul Islam and Mohammed Shamsuddin (both from Animal Production and Health Section, JointFAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques, IAEA, Vienna) contributed to the Bangladesh case study in the report.

The report says that in Bangladesh framers organisations help them not only generate a commission to support the PVS, but also increase their bargaining power to get a better price for the milk.

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