Dairy and beef are the main components of the livestock sub-sector in Bangladesh. According to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), the livestock subsector provides 20% of the population with direct jobs and 45% with part-time jobs. This is particularly important for unemployed youth and women, as well as landless farmers, to lift themselves out of poverty. There are about 24.4 million cattle in our country and most of them (60-65%) are local breeds. The yield of local cattle is only about 1 - 2 liter milk per day (200 – 250 liter per year). However, the production of cross-breed is about 7 - 8 liter per day (1500 – 1800 liter per year). In New Zealand, the number of dairy cattle is lower than Bangladesh (about 4.94 million) but it produces about 21.2 billion liters of milk and it is the 8th largest milk-producing country. With the current deficit of about 5.0 million metric tons of milk and an additional requirement of 6.0 million tons in 2030, Bangladesh needs to produce 11.0 million metric tons of milk. Therefore, we need to increase milk production within the next 10 years. We also need to increase the production of meat to meet the growing demand. This increased demand can be met either by increasing the yield of meat and milk per animal or by increasing the number of animals. Due to pressure on land and other resources, increasing the meat and milk yield per cow is the preferred and only option for Bangladesh. Increasing the production is a combination of good genetics, improvement of cattle (through artificial insemination with quality semen), and fertility management. Thus, farmers need to be more knowledgeable on how to maximize production and productivity by improving their breeds and practicing fertility management. Cross-breeding through artificial insemination is the fastest option in breed improvement.
is observed that milk and meat production enhanced over the last two decades. Milk production has been increased over 6 times and meat production about 10 times. However, while the production of meat recorded impressive growth, the growth of milk production was relatively lower. The government along with the private sector stakeholders are working closely to further improve milk and meat production and create more employment and income opportunity in the livestock sector for the rural poor in our country. The current major AI (Artificial Insemination) services providers are government, Milk Vita, and 5 private sector stakeholders (BRAC, ACI, ADL, Lal Teer, and Ejab). A recent estimation, done by ACI, shows that about 90 lakh doses of semen were used in 2020 and the current coverage under artificial insemination (AI) is about 65-70% in our country. Moreover, the number of cross-breed animals is only 40%. Thus, there is a huge potential to increase the coverage of AI for cattle development in our country.
ACI Animal Health is providing a complete and ready solution to farmers. ACI Animal Genetics is a new business of ACI Animal Health and it has started its operation to increase the productivity of cattle through breed upgradation in Bangladesh. It has set up its own modern bull station and is producing quality semen of Holstein Friesians (HF), Sahiwal, and Red Chittagong Cattle (RCC). Well-trained technical staff are working in the bull station and they are guided by senior level technical experts. The experts also provide necessary technical suggestions to field staff and monitor the field-level AI operation. To widen the net of distribution for quality semen to farmers, it has trained and deployed self-employed individuals called Livestock Assistants (LAs) who earn money from the sale of quality semen and services. A form of micro-franchising, this entrepreneurship-based local delivery system ensures AI services to farmers. It has trained and developed about 2000 livestock assistants (LAs) across the country. ACI Animal Genetics believes that artificial insemination with quality semen is a proven way to improve the cattle breed and increase productivity in this country. Therefore, it focuses on producing and selling quality improved semen, providing required pre and post reproductive services, calf care, awareness building on nutrition, deworming, vaccination etc. It provides a complete solution for cattle development. As a result, over the last year, there is a significant growth observed in animal genetic business. The production and sale of semen doubled. Market share also increased from 5% to 12 %. The demand for ACI semen is increasing day by day and it has already positioned itself as 2nd largest in Bangladesh within a very short period of time.
Dr. Md. A. Saleque
Chief Technical Advisor
ACI Animal Health