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Minister Promises Help to the Industry

by 5m Editor
6 March 2009, at 8:55am

BANGLADESH - Agriculture minister, Matia Chowdhury, has promised government assistance to the country's poultry industry as it recovers from bird flu. She was speaking at the 6th International Poultry Show and Seminar in Dhaka.

Minister Matia Chowdhury said avian influenza had hit the employment generating sector "like a tsunami" in the past two years, and the government would give all help it to recover losses, according to BD News.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Sixth International Poultry Show and Seminar she said growth of the poultry industry could play an important role in meeting the population's protein needs.

"As cultivatable lands, ponds and rivers are decreasing day by day, setting up of more poultry firms can ensure production of adequate animal proteins," said Ms Chowdhury.

The agriculture minister urged local scientists and experts to produce vaccines, drugs and poultry feeds locally to reduce dependency on imported ones.

Fisheries and livestock minister, Abdul Latif Biswas, said the livestock sector contribution to GDP was 2.95 per cent, of which the poultry sector alone was worth 25 per cent.

"In the last two decades, the poultry industry has achieved 15 per cent growth per year on an average," he said.

Organised by the World's Poultry Science Association, Bangladesh Branch, the 6th International Poultry Show and Seminar ran from 3 to 5 March at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre. A total of 171 companies from 26 different countries showcased their products and services at the fair.

Previous government left poultry industry paralysed

Reporting from the same meeting, South Asian Media writes that in trying to preventing bird flu, the past caretaker government left country's poultry industries paralyzed by allowing indiscriminate incineration of chickens.

Citing UNB, the report says Minister Chowdhury told her audience that neighbouring India tackled the avian influenza by burning birds in only the affected farms. The government in Bangladesh, however, had "burnt the birds of any farms within one kilometre of an affected one that rendered a large number of small poultry farmers insolvent or unemployed".

This had halved the number of people employed in the sector from 5 to 5.5 million to 2 to 2.5 million, while the number of farms fell from 150,000 to between 60,000 and 70,000 in 2008, she added.

However, the present government has taken all possible and effective measures to protect the poultry industry, Ms Chowdhury said, adding that all forms of government support will be given to the poultry farms and related farms to meet the country's protein needs.

At the inaugural ceremony, the Minister stated, "I will work as an advocate for the industries to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister," adding that the local farms, importers, scientists and entrepreneurs should work together to protect the potential protein industry from any disaster.

She urged the country's scientists and researchers to invent local vaccines for making the medicines available to poultry farmers, and assured government support to make food available cheaply.

She added that the government will not allow promotion of imported vaccines, allow panic to destroy the poultry industry.

The World's Poultry Science Association Bangladesh Branch (WPSA-BB), a scientific establishment, organized the show. WPSA-BB president, Moshiur Rahman presided over the inaugural function.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister, M Abdul Latif Biswas MP, who addressed the function as special guest, said that the government has taken effective action about National Poultry Policy.

Fisheries and Livestock Secretary, Mohammad Shah Alam, spoke as guest of honour.

WPSA Past President, Piet Simons, said poultry meat now accounts for about 33 per cent of all meat consumed. The average annual per-capita consumption of meat has increased by 2 to 4 per cent over last 20 years.

WPSA President, Dr Bob Pym, and poultry farmers, importers, scientists, students and entrepreneurs were present at the function.

WPSA-BB secretary, Dr M.A. Saleque, said that 50 per cent of poultry farms were closed down due to bird flu outbreaks in the last two years and so the poultry industry needed attention. He also demanded observing "poultry week" to create awareness among the poultry farmers and related business farms.

Prior to the programme, attendees observed a one-minute silence to pay respect to the victims at the BDR headquarters.

WPSA-BB awarded a scholarship to M. Saiful Rahman, a student of Bangladesh Agricultural University, for his outstanding academic results, concludes the South Asian Media report.