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Dhaka Tribune

Increase budget allocation to Tk5,000cr, dairy farmers urge govt

They also demanded withdrawal of import duty on cattle feed and other dairy sector-based materials

Update : 25 Jun 2020, 05:52 PM

Bangladesh Dairy Development Forum (BDDF) on Thursday proposed increasing budgetary allocation from Tk3,193 crore to Tk 5,000 crore for the fisheries and livestock sector since it was one of the most affected sectors amid Covid-19

Currently, the allocation is 0.58% of the total national budget for FY21 whereas the contribution of the sector to GDP is over 5%.

They also demanded withdrawal of import duty on cattle feed and other dairy sector-based materials.

Addressing a virtual post-budget reaction titled "Proposed National Budget 2020-21: How Effective It is to Address the Impact of Covid-19 in the Dairy Industry," they suggested increasing import duty on milk and other dairy products from 10% to 25%.

Members of the forum also said it was essential to ensure that dairy equipment and raw materials were available amid the Covid-19 pandemic to keep the countrywide dairy supply chain stable.

Presenting the main article at the press conference, BDDF's joint general secretary Prof KBM Saiful Islam said that Bangladesh produces an average of 2-2.5 crore liters of liquid milk per day with a market value of around Tk100-120 crore. But that was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Referring to a study conducted by Brac, he said farmers lost more than Tk56,536 crore from last week of March until the first week of May.

"Many farmers were forced to sell their cattle due to the novel virus' outbreak. Other farmers were not able to provide adequate feed to their cattle, resulting in various diseases and health problems of the domestic animal. The supply chain also collapsed, for which dairy processing companies were not able to collect, process and sell milk as per their capacity. Their sales dropped to about 40-50%. In the last three months (March to May), the sector lost about Tk4,000 crore," he read out.

“It is not possible to run a farm commercially if the cost of cattle feed is more thanks to higher import duty. But in Bangladesh, it costs about 70-75% more than the feed price of other countries,” he observed.

Umme Kulsum Smriti, MP and president of BDDF, said the biggest challenge for the local dairy industry was unequal competition with imported powdered milk.

“The price of imported powdered milk is much less than ones produced locally. Besides, the government spent about $288 million to meet the import cost of powdered milk. Local producers cannot compete with this. This is why we urge the government to increase import duty on powdered milk from 10% to 25% to save local dairy farmers," she added.

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