Published in News Today on Saturday 5 September 2015.
Cattle crisis to take three years to ease
Bangladesh can meet its demand for beef locally provided the government takes short-medium and long- term policy, said Md Ashraf Ali, former Director General of Livestock Department, while talking to The news Today on Friday. He said the number of cows in Bangladesh is 60 lakh and half of those have been brought under artificial insemination programme for improved variety. Md Ashraf Ali said a calf needs at least two years rearing as existing rules does not permit to slaughter animal below two years. He said artificial insemination of cattle artificial insemination is an important and successful programme of livestock development. Semen is collected from the bulls reared in the Central Cattle Breeding Station at Savar, Dhaka and other districts and processed as liquid and frozen semen to run the artificial insemination extension programme. The number of inseminated cows stood at 26.91 lakh in FY 2011-12. Former director of Livestock Department Dr Arbind Kumar Saha said local variety of cattle weighs 80-10 kags after rearing of three years while improved variety of cattle weighs 700-800 kgs during the same period. He said local variety of cattle gives 1.5-2.00 litres of milk while improved variety of cow gives 50-60 litres of milk. u Page 15 col. Cattle crisis to take three years to ease From Page 1 col. 7 Bangladesh Meat Business Association secretary general Rabiul Alam said Bangladesh can locally meet demand for cattle if commercial production of cattle is encouraged. He said cow herds incurs losses during Eid-ul Azha as Indian cattle enter the country during that time through legal and illegal channels. He said as Bangladesh is a small country. The government should put emphasis on rearing improved variety of cattle. Dr Muazzem Hossain, Additional Research Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue, said the number of cattle in Bangladesh was 226.7 lakh in 2004-20005 fiscal year. The number has increased to 234.88 lakh in 2013-14 fiscal year showing only 0.40 per cent. The growth of buffalo was 2.4 per cent, sheep 2.6 per cent and goat 2.9 per cent. The growth of poultry was 3.4 per cent. Fish production has risen by 4.84 per cent in 2013-14 fiscal year. The percentage of cattle out of total livestock was 51 per cent in 2004-2005 fiscal year and it dropped to 44 per cent in 2013-14 fiscal year. The contribution of the livestock sub sector to GDP at constant prices was 2.58 percent in FY 2010. The estimated contribution to GDP during FY 2011-12 from this sub-sector was 2.50 percent. Though the share of the livestock sub sector in GDP is small, it has immense contribution towards meeting the daily protein (animal protein) requirements. A number of initiatives has been taken for livestock development. The most important ones include production and distribution of vaccine for poultry and livestock, supply of duckling and chicks at a cheaper price, artificial insemination extension programme by using both diluted and frozen semen for improved variety, increased production of semen, artificial foetus transfer technology, prevention and control of anthrax, foot and mouth diseases and avian lnfluenza. According to the estimate of the Department of Livestock Services the population of livestock and poultry (projected) rose to 5 crore 28 lakh 36 thousand and 28 crore 85 lakh 66 thousand respectively in 2011-12. The price of beef has shot up 40-50 per cent in the market this year against the backdrop of poor supply of cattle from neighboring India. Bangladesh has been largely dependent on India’s as local supply can meet at best 50 per cent of country’s demand. Times of India said Some 30,000 Indian soldiers guarding the border with Bangladesh have a new mandate under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government this year – stop cattle from crossing illegally into the neighbour. Roughly every other night, troops armed with bamboo sticks and ropes wade through jute and paddy fields and swim across ponds to chase ageing bovines, and smugglers, headed for markets in Bangladesh. The crackdown is one of the clearest signs yet of how Indian policies are having an economic impact on neighbouring countries. About 2 million head of cattle are smuggled into Bangladesh annually from India. The $600 million-a- year trade has flourished over the past four decades. Modi’s government wants to put an end to it. Union home minister Rajnath Singh travelled this spring to the frontier with Bangladesh, calling on the Border Security Force (BSF) to halt cattle smuggling completely so that the “people of Bangladesh give up eating beef”, media reported at the time. “Killing or smuggling a cow is equivalent to raping a Hindu girl or destroying a Hindu temple,” said Jishnu Basu, an RSS spokesman in West Bengal, which shares a 2,216km (1,375 miles) border with Bangladesh. So far this year, BSF soldiers have seized 90,000 cattle and caught 400 Indian and Bangladeshi smugglers. Bangladeshi traders who operate auctions to facilitate the sale of cattle to slaughter houses, beef processing units, tanneries and bone crushing factories estimate the industry contributed 3 percent to the country’s $190 billion economy. The hit to GDP from India’s policies is not yet known. But HT Imam, a political adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said there was “absolutely no doubt” that the beef trade and leather industry were suffering. Syed Hasan Habib of Bengal Meat, Bangladesh’s top beef exporter, said it had to cut international orders by 75 percent. The company exports 125 tonnes of beef a year to Gulf countries. He said the price of cows had gone up by 40 percent over the past six months because of India’s move, and they had been forced to close two processing units. Habib plans to import cows from Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar to meet domestic demand, but he said Indian cows had better quality meat and raw hide. Bangladesh Tanners Association president Shaheen Ahmed said 30 of 190 tanneries had suspended work due to lack of hides, and about 4,000 workers were jobless. A senior official in India’s home ministry said Bangladesh should find new sources of beef because India would stick to its stance.