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Dhaka Tribune

Local producers seek increased duty on imported milk powder

'The government should increase the import duty on low quality powdered milk while it should not impose any duty on milk powder essential for kids'

Update : 06 May 2019, 09:54 PM

The Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association has demanded imposition of anti-dumping tax and increasing import duty to 50% from the existing 25% on milk powder in the budget for 2019-20 fiscal year. 

At a press conference held at the National Press Club on Monday, the association also sought incentives for the local dairy farms and 20% subsidy to increase milk production. 

At the program, Imran Hossain, president of the association, read out a written speech in which he placed 11 demands including ensuring fair price of liquid milk in adjustment with  the inflation during the last 15 years and proper market management.

“The government should increase the import duty on low quality powdered milk while it should not impose any duty on milk powder essential for kids,” he said.

“The government has to specify a minimum price for the locally produced milk considering the total production cost so that the farmers can survive as well as increase their production”, he demanded.

In his statement, he said, in the last seven years, the demand for cow milk increased because of people's food awareness, which pushed up the production of milk during the period by three times.

He claimed that about 70% of the total demand for milk was met with those produced in the country. 

In this situation, the only way to expand domestic milk industry was to increase import duty on the milk powder as well as increase government cooperation with the local dairy farms. 

Besides, the president also mentioned that in 2010-11, in the country's demand for milk was 1.3 corer tons and against the demand the farmers could produce only 29.5 lakh tons. 

In 2017-18, the demand increased to 1.5 corer tons and the local farmers could produce 94 lakh tons of milk, he said, informing that right now the amount of milk production deficit was 56 tons.

“It will be possible to overcome the deficit if the government gradually increases the duty on imported milk and gives incentives to the local dairy farmers,” said the president. 

Shah Emran, general secretary of the organization, said that over the last seven years, the number of dairy farms (registered and unregistered) increased to 12 lakh and about 94 lakh people were engaged in dairy farms business directly or indirectly. 

“But we don’t get any incentives form the government while we have to pay 10% income tax,” he added.

He further said that the country's dairy industry was being destroyed by importing low-grade milk mixed with vegetable fat. 

Mostafizur Rahman, AGM of Milkvita, said that in last few years the government imported milk powder worth Tk2,000 corer to Tk2,500. 

"Though we are capable of producing quality powdered milk locally, we are yet failing to sustain in the market because of the imported milk," he said. 

“For example, the production cost of one kg of Milkvita powdered milk is Tk430 to Tk450 whereas  people can get imported powder milk for Tk300 to Tk350," he argued. 

“This uneven competition will push the local producers to destruction,” he warned.

Umme Kulsum Smrity, president of National Dairy Development Forum, and Ali Azam Rahman Shibli, vice-president of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association, also spoke among others. 

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