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Livestock Sector Part-II

Technology, training, skill acquiring seen a must for food security

Published : Sunday, 19 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 145

Experts have commented that the dairy and poultry sector must be made smart first to build a smart Bangladesh.

They say Bangladesh has achieved self-sufficiency in meat, milk, eggs and chicken in recent years. Farmers need to be trained in information technology to develop and sustain the livestock sector in the future. Experts have advised the government to focus on keeping the prices of products fixed so that farmers can use more technology.
Agricultural Economist and teacher of the Bangladesh Agricultural University Prof Md Saidur Rahman told the Daily Observer, "Marginal and large farmers should be given technology support by the government. Otherwise, they will not be able to manage the farm smartly. If we want to promote the farm commercially then the farmers must be averaged as efficient. There is no alternative to using technology. It would be very expensive to manage the farm manually only. A separate allocation should be kept in the upcoming budget for providing training and technology facilities to the farmers."

Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association (BDFA) President Md Imran Hossain told Daily Observer, "Farmers should be trained to build a smart Bangladesh. Don just dress smartly. Farmers should be made skilled. Smart farming should be done. Through training, we can reduce the cost of farm food. If the food cost can be reduced, the production cost will be reduced. We need a smart breed. The indigenous breeds that we have now cannot sustain them in the river. The space available at hand should be utilized. It is possible to make good cow feed with banana trees, if it can be done, it will be cost-effective."

He said, "It should be taught to the farmers. But not everyone knows it. It will be good for the environment if you can feed the cattle with banana trees. The association provides some training but the government should provide more training. It is known that marginal farmers are also taking advantage of this technology. The use of modern technology in the farm saves time, labour and money on the one hand, and on the other hand the production is also increased. This is leading to safe food security. At the same time, the fair price of the products of the small farmers is also ensured."

Sources said that 20 per cent of the total population of the country is directly and 50 per cent indirectly dependent on livestock. Keeping this in mind, the government has taken various initiatives and development plans to increase the production of milk, meat and eggs in the country and meet the demand for animal meat.
Government has taken Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP) especially for the development of this sector. The project is being implemented by the Department of Livestock under the supervision of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.

According to World Bank research, milk, eggs and meat will lead the way in the number of non-vegetable or animal products per capita that will increase in daily demand in the next decade. Production must increase to meet this growing demand.

Experts say that farmers will benefit the most if they can ensure advanced technology in animal feed, treatment and product production and sales.

Regarding the mechanization and digitization of the livestock sector, Md Abdur Rahim, Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP) Director, told the Daily Observer, "If advanced technology and digitization are used in the countrys farms, there will be a revolutionary change in this sector. It will save time. Work will be easy. Production will increase. The biggest issue will be ensuring safe food."

Abdur Rahman said the government is working to bring the farmers under technical facilities. Want to expand the technology massively. Those who will receive technology services need training. The government is looking at that.

According to the Livestock Directorate, there are a total of 79,581 registered cattle farms in the country.

 Among them, there are 69,839 cow farms, 51 buffalo farms, 619 cow fattening farms, 5,124 goat farms and 3,948 sheep farms. The DLS has again divided the cattle farms into three categories: small, medium and large. Farms with 10 to 20 cows are small farms, farms with 21 to 50 cows and more than medium cows are large farms. The category does not mention marginal or small farmers.

According to the latest survey by the LDDP which collected data of 7.2 lakh farmers from 61 districts (excluding three hill districts) across the country, it was found that: 90.25 per cent of farms have one to five cows, six to 10 cows is 7.79 per cent, the number of farms having 11 to 20 cows is 1.63 per cent and the number of farms having more than 20 cows is 0.33 per cent.

As seen, 98.04 per cent of the farmers in the country are small. This huge part of the farm is beyond advanced technology and digitization. In these farms cattle are reared in old ways. Chopper machine for cutting grass in digitized farm, TMR machine for feeding and watering cattle, water trough, auto saver system for bathing, router for cleaning dung, CMR machine for milking calves, cow brush, high voltage cyclone fan for shed temperature control, fly killer and various equipment are used including pest killers. Apart from this, milking machines are used for milking, cooling systems to cool the milk to a certain temperature and freezer cars are used to deliver the produced milk to the consumer.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock said that small farmers are being brought under advanced technology and digitization to ensure increased production of animal feed, food safety and fair price of produce. The initiative has been taken under the LDDP.

Dr Md Golam Rabbani, Chief Technical Coordinator of LDDP told the Daily Observer, 5,500 producer groups (PG) based on different value chains have been formed across the country with 1,65,000 farms. Through this, smallholder farmers are organized and brought under a networking system, so that they can benefit from advanced technology and digitization from farm management to milk production and sale. Outside PG climate tolerant houses are provided for chickens, goats at farm level. Apart from this, 1 climate tolerant house and 1 exhibition house have been provided to dairy farmers in each upazila.

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