Poultry farmers have expressed frustration as the use of jute sacks would increase their costs.
Even though the use of jute sacks is more environmentally friendly than plastic bags, poultry feed businesses say it is not suitable for the industry.
As jute is a natural fibre, it is prone to rotting, especially when wet. This may lead poultry feed in the jute sacks to become toxic and infected with fungus, poultry feed industry insiders said.
Dr Md Giasuddin, principal scientific officer of the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, told the Dhaka Tribune: “There is more protein in poultry feed due to the mixing of various items. As such, we prohibit the use jute sacks to store feed for more than 10 days, as it may become infected with fungus.
“If chickens take infected feed, then they may die. Toxic feed damages their liver and reduces immunity to disease. There are many perforations in jute sacks, whereas air-tight bags are needed to protect the feed,” he added.
Dr Md Giasuddin further said that feed is damaged if humidity rises above 14%, and there was less risk for fish feed than for poultry.
Meanwhile, poultry farmers have expressed frustration as the use of jute sacks would increase their costs.
Mohammad Humayan, a poultry farmer from Chatak in Sunamganj, said: “I have more than 5,000 chickens on my farm. I buy a 50 kg jute sack of feed at around Tk2,200, which is more expensive than a plastic bag with the same amount.”
Furthermore, feed manufacturers said about 10 million jute sacks were needed for the poultry sector each year, which is near impossible for jute sack suppliers to provide.
Recently, the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) protested the government decision to make it mandatory to use jute bags for the packaging of poultry and fish feed.
In a statement, BPICC General Secretary Ahsanuzzaman said: “We thank the government for considering the environment when making the decision. However, if we package poultry and fish feed in jute bags, then the price will increase by Tk35-40 per bag. As a result, both producers and consumers will be affected.”
The statement also said that jute sacks would not be able to maintain the quality of the feed, and it would rot within a short time.
Moshiur Rahman, president of the Feed Industries Association Bangladesh (FIAB), said: “Entrepreneurs in the private sector are trying to maintain the quality of the feed, keeping exports in mind. The government decision to make jute sacks mandatory will hamper their efforts. Considering the country’s weather, feed will become septic after 10 days if it is stored in jute sacks.”
The government made the use of jute bags mandatory for the preservation and transport of poultry and fish feed by amending the Jute Packaging Rules-2013, exercising its power under article 22 of the Mandatory Jute Packaging Act, 2010. The Textiles and Jute Ministry issued a notification in this regard last year.