Dairy Development Board on cards to uplift farmers, boost production

November 28, 2022

The government is formulating the Dairy Development Board Act, 2022 to overhaul the dairy sector of the country.

Under this Act, a Dairy Development Board will be formed which will take all sorts of policy-making decisions regarding the development of this sector.

It will also oversee a number of issues including government cooperation, market management and monitoring, organising farmers, and creating an environment to sell dairy and dairy foods at fair prices.

According to sources at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, the proposed law has been sent to the law ministry for vetting after it got an initial nod from the cabinet.

Md Hamidur Rahman, joint secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, told The Business Standard (TBS), “After the law ministry finishes its scrutinisation, the draft law will be sent back to the Cabinet Division for final approval. Once approved, this law will be placed before the Parliament for passage.”

Experts in the dairy sector said despite a 158% increase in milk production in a decade, farmers are still not getting fair prices for milk due to poor market management.

The costs of animal feed, medicine, and management have gone up manifold due to fallouts from the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, but the price of milk has not increased for farmers, they said.

Due to this, the dairy sector is going through a crisis even though there have been many big investments.

However, the price of processed milk at the consumer level has increased by 48% in the last four years.

The law is being formulated mainly to constitute the board, which will also issue licences in favour of various investments in this sector, opening new dairy farms, and processing plants.

There are dairy development boards in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, New Zealand, Australia, America and other European countries.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, India is now the world’s number one milk producer, followed by the US, Pakistan and others, and the dairy board has played the biggest role in India becoming the top milk producer.

Former director general of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) Dr Nathu Ram Sarker told TBS, “The dairy board is responsible for all aspects of the development of the sector, starting from policy support. That is why it is very important to quickly pass this law and form the board.”

According to sources, the Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP), which started in January 2019, was scheduled to be completed in 2023 but has reportedly been extended by another two years. The board will be formed under this project.

According to the draft law, an 18-member board of directors, chaired by the fisheries and livestock minister, has been recommended. Officials from various levels, dairy farmers and businessmen will be on the board.

An array of laws including the Animal Breeding Act in the making

There are many technologies available for the breeding of cattle including artificial breeding, and cloning.

Artificial reproduction of cattle has become popular in Bangladesh due to its low cost. In addition to the government, many private sector organisations such as Milk Vita, Lal Teer, ACI, and Brac are doing this.

The Livestock Development Policy 2008 deals with artificial breeding but legislation is now required to guide and regulate the private sector.

Due to this, the Animal Breeding Act is being drafted under the LDDP project. This draft is being prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

Similarly, FAO is also working to formulate the hatchery act to guide and regulate the hatchery activities of the poultry sector. The preparation of livestock extension policy and extension manual is also underway for managing and monitoring various stages of activities from post-production of livestock products to exports.

In addition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is working to develop food safety-related standards and protocols for livestock products.

All these policy works are being done under the LDDP project. Export products have to be produced by maintaining certain standards, which only Bengal Meat and a few poultry companies are currently doing.

Dr Md Golam Rabbani, chief technical coordinator (CTC) of LDDP, told TBS that policy support is essential to facilitate the private sector, increase the capacity of the departments, and increase the capacity of the service providers, for all sectors, including export and import. Some of the policies are being formulated under this project.

Director General of the Department of Livestock Services Dr Monjur Mohammad Shahjada said, “Like the agricultural sector, research in the livestock sector should be enhanced. The BLRI needs to be strengthened further, along with forming separate research entities on eggs, chicken, milk and meat.”

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