Poultry industry has the potential to help Bangladesh achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eliminating malnutrition and ensuring better health for the countrymen.
Among 17 SDGs, ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutritional status are the ones that the poultry industry can deal with and contribute much through providing protein items.
The aim of UN goals is to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure that all people – especially children and those more vulnerable to severe malnutrition – have access to sufficient nutritious food all the year round.
“Hunger and malnutrition pose major barriers to development for a country. In meeting the demands for protein, the poultry industry is playing a pivotal role,” Sirajul Hoque, general secretary, World's Poultry Science Association-Bangladesh Branch, (WPSA-BB) told the Dhaka Tribune.
According to Bangladesh Poultry Industry Coordination Committee (BPICC), 45% of animal protein come from the poultry industry.
On the other hand, as a source of safe food, there is no alternative to chicken and eggs, as now they are produced in modern technology-based factory, he said.
“By 2021, our per capita consumption is expected to increase by 8.42kg, and considering the aspect, we can say Bangladesh will be able to achieve SDGs in the field of ending hunger and removing malnutrition.”
Experts, however, suggested ensuring affordable prices of eggs and chickens so that lower-income people can meet protein demands.
They also advocated making the products available for all across the country.
From five star hotel to street shops, everywhere you will see different items of chicken food items. This has been possible only because the sector is booming driven by the private sector, said WPSA-BB general secretary.
He also called for setting up of collecting hub to give better prices to poultry farmers and get it to the commoners.
Moshiur Rahman, convener of BPICC, told the Dhaka Tribune that private sector people run most of the farms which are either small or medium in size.
He called for government policy support and loan facilities to enhance production capacity and meet the demands of 2021.
“We are going to arrange programmes to make people aware of several items of chickens so that they increase their meat intake.”
Moshiur also urged the government to formulate guidelines for better development of the sector.
WAPSA, Bangladesh's demands for eggs will rise to 4.5 crore pieces by 2021 while demands for chicken meat 4,500 tones per day.
Bangladesh has now capacity to produce 2.25 crore chickens per day, which mature into hen within 28 days. The poultry meat production stands at 1,851 tonnes per day.
Talking on the production capacity, the sector people said Bangladesh poultry sector needs investment of Tk60,000 crore to increase production capacity to meet the demands by 2021.
According to the World's Poultry Science Association Bangladesh Branch, in 2020, per capita poultry meat consumption is expected to reach 8.42Kg, which is now nearly 4kg, while in Pakistan 5.5kg and in the U.S. over 50kg.
Khursheed Jahan, director of Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University, said on average, per day meat intake should be 50 gram, which is currently about 8 gram.
“In meeting the demands, production should be increased while the prices affordable,” he suggested.
As per the UNDP data, 795 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished as of 2014, often as a direct consequence of environmental degradation, drought and loss of biodiversity while over 90 million children under the age of five are dangerously underweight.
According to the WPSA-BB study titled – Safe Food and Nutrition for Future Generation: Role of Poultry Industry in Bangladesh – nearly 38.7% children aged between 0 and 59 months in the country are short in size, 35.1% are underweight and 16.3% are thin.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the minimum intake of egg for per person is 104 pieces per annum while Bangladesh's per capita consumption is 51 pieces.
Developed country like Japan consumes about 600 pieces of eggs per annum per person.