A thriving cow farm in Manikganj struggles from lack of government services
Bangladesh has one of the fastest-growing economies and the agriculture sector contributes a great deal to it. The country is well-known for its fertile land. Unfortunately, farmers in the rural areas often face setbacks because of a lack of support, as is the case for Farmside Agro Ltd in Manikganj.
Founded in May 2017 with five cows in Singair upazila, Manikganj, the farm now has 88 cows and calves and six farmhands to look after the operation. Consisting of Australian breed cows, the herd yields more than 300 litres of milk a day. Alongside, they also have a bio-gas plant which has the capacity to run stoves in 40 houses daily.
The farm opened doors for the locals and the small economy surrounding it. It has created employment opportunities, a constant supply of fresh dairy, and natural gas. The cows here are very healthy and are given proper meals twice a day. No external medicines are used to boost their growth.
All the calves are brought up with such care that each has its own name. Even though this sounds like a full-on successful venture, there is a catch -- the initiative suffers from a lack of support from the government.
Photo: Samuel Adhikary
The government has specific legislations for the agricultural industry, under which the farmers are entitled to free medicines and medical services. There are government authorized clinics and centres throughout the country from where people can get free medicines and medical services for their livestock. But more often than not, the right to get these services only exists on paper.
The managing director of Farmside Agro Ltd, Faisal Bin Maleque, said the government took the right initiative, but they are not being implemented on the ground level.
“The government has made provisions but we are not being able to avail these services. We were supposed to get medicines free of cost, but when we go to the Livestock Department, they say they do not have medicines, unless we pay for it. If a cow falls sick and we call the vet, he says he can’t come and even if we are willing to pay, they will always charge higher. We are supposed to get this support but, unfortunately, we don’t.”
But this is not the only problem. All the fresh produce being generated in these farms is often sold off to wholesalers in the market. Most of the farms struggle to agree on a price, as their selling price and the price that the wholesalers pay for the harvest have a significant difference.
“The authorities should at least set a fixed rate so that no one in this process gets ripped off,” said Al Farooque Ahmed, chairman of Farmside Agro Ltd.
Started by four friends two years ago, Farmside Agro faced many problems throughout this time period, and it overcame each of the challenges. But not all farms are as lucky as Farmside Agro. Many others fall out due to the lack of structural support and extra costs for services.