Bangladesh Battles for Food Self-Sufficiency Amidst Rising Poultry Prices and Monopoly Concerns

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In an era where Bangladesh proudly claims self-sufficiency in fish and meat production, a paradox unfolds as a significant portion of its population continues to grapple with undernutrition. Despite the commendable leap in production of fish, meat, eggs, and milk over the past decade, the consumption levels of these protein-rich foods linger below the daily recommended intake. The heart of Dhaka recently bore witness to a pressing conference by the Bangladesh Poultry Association, unveiling the layers of challenges thwarting the potential of the poultry industry to meet the burgeoning demand for nutritious food.

he discourse at the press conference illuminated a critical issue at the heart of the poultry industry’s distress – the dominance of a few corporate groups in the production of poultry feeds and chicks. This monopoly not only inflates the cost of poultry products but also erects insurmountable barriers for marginal farmers, who contribute to 80-85% of the nation’s supply of chicken and eggs. The repercussions of such a stranglehold are many, with the recent surge in egg and chicken prices being a glaring testament to the underlying dysfunction.

Transport Troubles and the Plight of Marginal Farmers

Further exacerbating the plight of these farmers are the transport restrictions imposed by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, coupled with rampant extortion by police and locals. These obstacles have significantly increased production costs for marginal farmers, starkly contrasting with the relatively insulated existence of contract farmers linked to the corporate groups. The disparity in operational costs threatens the very survival of marginal farmers, positioning them on the brink of being edged out of the market. The Bangladesh Poultry Association warns that without immediate and decisive government intervention, the prices of eggs and chickens could potentially double in the next two to three years. Such a scenario would not only exacerbate the nutritional deficit among the population but also further entrench the monopolistic grip on the market.

Call for Government Intervention

The leaders of the Bangladesh Poultry Association have laid down a series of demands aimed at dismantling the monopoly and fostering a more equitable poultry industry. Central to their demands is the call for the government to establish its own hatcheries and permit the import of feed and chicks. Such measures would dilute the corporate groups’ control over the supply chain and provide marginal farmers with a fighting chance to compete. Moreover, the association urges the government to facilitate the unhindered transport of chickens, shielding marginal farmers from extortion and ensuring a steady supply of poultry products at reasonable prices. Through these interventions, the association hopes to safeguard the interests of marginal farmers, ensuring their survival and contribution to the nation’s quest for food self-sufficiency.

In conclusion, as Bangladesh strides towards a future of food self-sufficiency, the shadows cast by monopolies and the struggles of marginal farmers unfold a complex narrative. The government’s role in breaking these monopolistic chains and supporting the backbone of the poultry industry – the marginal farmers – cannot be overstated. It is only through concerted efforts and strategic interventions that Bangladesh can truly achieve self-sufficiency, ensuring that its populace does not merely survive, but thrives on a diet rich in essential proteins.

Source: BNN