Steady growth in fish, animal farming

The country's fish and animal farming sub-sectors grew by 6.37 per cent and 3.40 per cent in FY18, against the 6.23 per cent and 3.31 per cent growth in FY17 respectively. According to BBS data, fish and animal farming (livestock and poultry) sub-sectors accounted for about 5.09 per cent of the country’s GDP in FY18. Their GDP share was 5.21 per cent in FY17. Estimated separately, fish and animal farming sub-sectors accounted for 3.56 per cent and 1.53 per cent, respectively, of the country’s GDP in FY18, compared to 3.61 per cent and 1.60 per cent in FY17.

Sources said, nearly 20 million people are currently engaged in the fish sector, while the animal farming sector has created job opportunities for around 6.5 million people. State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock, Md. Ashraf Ali Khan Khoshru, told Bangladesh Post that the livestock sector has created direct employment opportunity for 20 percent and indirectly for 50 percent persons so far. For the development of this sector a total of 7 technologies and 83 technology packages have been innovated.

The State Minister said, the country is becoming self sufficient in both meat and fish production, supply and consumption through huge farming of livestock and fisheries, irrespective of cities and villages today, because of the inspiration and direct initiatives of the government. "In the last 5 years, meat production has increased at 72,000 tons from 23,000 tons and egg production has increased to 15.5 crore from 7.5 crore. The government has undertaken new research initiatives by identifying problems regionally across the country with an aim to increase production of protein-carrying safe food items in small places," the minister added.

According to a recent report, prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Bangladesh’s poultry sector has a bright prospect. The sector is gearing up to export eggs and poultry meat by 2024, especially to the Middle Eastern countries, a big market for halal meat. It has nearly closed the gap between the domestic demand with a growing supply of both eggs and meat. The country’s poultry farms are reportedly growing at a faster rate of 15 per cent a year. The sector currently invests Tk.350 billion, which is expected to double in the next decade.

The report also said one million entrepreneurs and eight million people are involved in the poultry sector, producing 10.22 billion eggs and 1.46 million tons of poultry meat annually. The country will require 17 billion eggs, 2 million tons of poultry meat, 85.8 million day-old chicks, and 7.9 million metric tons of feed to meet the demand by 2021. However, the Department of Livestock, under the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries claims that the country is already producing 15.52 billion eggs against the current annual demand of 17.13 billion. Moreover, the poultry sector supplies 36 per cent of total protein intake through meat and egg consumption.

Riding on a burgeoning poultry sector, Bangladesh’s feed sector also marked a huge growth. The quarterly economic review of MCCI mentions that over 400 mills are supplying 3.61 million tonnes of feed meeting up to 96 per cent of annual poultry feed demand while the remaining 4 per cent demand is met by imported feed and homemade feed-mix. Raw materials used for poultry feed production include maize (55-65%), soybean meal (20-25%), mustard oil cake (10-25%), rice bran (10-20%), and meat and bone meal (10-20%).

Growth and expansion of the feed industry, as well as the poultry and livestock sectors, is a result of increasing consumption of meat, eggs, and fish, according to the USDA report. However, the industry will flourish further if adequate foreign investment and technical assistance are provided timely. An MCCI review sees that fish production in the country increased by 58.85 per cent in the last ten years as a result of various programmes undertaken by the government. Both public and private sectors have contributed to increasing the fish production in the country, which eventually is boosting economic progress and fulfilling domestic demand.

According to the National Accounts Statistics of BBS, the production of fish, including inland and marine, rose to 4,289 thousand metric tons (tmt) in FY18 from 2,700 tmt in FY09, following the introduction of modern technology in local fish farming. The production of inland and marine fish increased to 3,574 tmt and 714 tmt in FY18 from 2,218 tmt and 482 tmt in FY09, respectively.