Commercial layer and broiler farming in Bangladesh have a history of nearly three decades but rapid expansion occurred during the last two decades. The production of DOCs, eggs and meat has increased gradually to nearly 1.5-fold over the last 5 years. The recent Covid-19 pandemic situation has created an undesirable impact and uncertainty in the poultry subsector. A consultative workshop on “impact of COVID-19 on the livestock sector in Bangladesh and their mitigation strategies was organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) on 26/11/2020 at BARC auditorium. The teachers from different universities, researchers, government officials, representative from private sectors and other stakeholders present in this workshop. The Chief Technical Advisor, ACI Animal Health presented a paper on “impact of COVID-19 on the Bangladesh poultry sector. The paper highlighted the status of pre COVID-19 poultry production, impact of COVID-19 on poultry sector and consideration for moving forward.
Chicken meat and eggs are the cheapest sources of high-quality proteins compared to more expensive sources - beef, chevon and fish having contribution in boosting up the immunity. The total investment in poultry sector is BDT 35,000 crores (USD 4.12 billion) and it has created employment of 60 lacs people. Currently 1.5 crore peoples depend on poultry industry (BPICC). Moreover, poultry industry contributes to several of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) especially for end poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, good jobs and economic growth, responsible consumption, climate action etc. There are about 16 GP farms operated by 8 companies, 206 broiler & layer breeders farms, 226 feed mills, 15 processing/further processing plants and 534 animal health companies(BPICC). We have about 88,000 commercial broiler and layer farms, 2015 sonali breeders’ farms (DLS,2020). The breeder farms and hatcheries produced about 70 crores boiler, 4.75 crores layer and over 35 crores sonali DOC in 2019. However, the recent COVID-19 has seriously affected the entire poultry value chain and the key players who are affected are
1.Key Input Supplier: a) Primary Supplier: Hatchery for DOCs, feed mill for feed, Animal Health companies for vaccine, feed additives and medicines, traders for raw materials, machineries and equipment b) Secondary: dealers & agents
2.Producers: Broiler farmers, Layer farmers, sonali farmers , small scale poultry producers
3.Traders/buyers for buying live birds and eggs.
4.Processor for buying live broilers.
5. Whole sellers/retailers at market place.
6.Restaurants and street shop.
Impact of COVID-19 on poultry sector:
The impact of COVID-19 on Bangladesh poultry sector is clearly visible. The Covid-19 has awfully disrupted the poultry production system and created an unwanted mismatch between the demand and supply of poultry products. There is a negative growth in farm inputs and final products. One estimation found that it resulted in about 35% drop in commercial day-old chicks (DOC), eggs and meat production in our country (BPICC,2020). As per BPICC (2020) the total loss in the poultry sector is about 7000 crores and about 25-30% of the entrepreneurs lost their working capital over the last 4/5 months due to Covid-19. It is assumed that the risk of 20-30% credit realization from dealers/farmers and others (BPICC,2020). Negative impact has been observed on commercial broilers, layers and sonali birds production and it was much more severe during April to June,2020. The production was significantly dropped(about 45 % in Day Old Chicks(DOC), 28% in eggs , 45% in chicken meat and 40% in feed) in this period. Other factors especially bird flu at farm level had also contributed in lower production in some cases. However, gradually very good recovery (nearly 83%) of negative impact on the sector was found during July to September 2020 due to adopting appropriate coping mechanisms to overcome the situation by the poultry farmers, private sectors, service providers, government and other stakeholders. Price fluctuation is still existing in DOC and live birds’ price. Recently government has approved over 700 crores to provide support to 620,000 poultry and dairy farmers.
Considerations for moving forward
Continuing incentive from government, minimizing VAT, AT, AIT from inputs and outputs of production.
Continuing the banking support for all stakeholders (waiver interest for 1 year, soft loan, rescheduling of loan).
Addressing the challenges through adherence to National Poultry Policy and adoption of liberal procedures.
Supporting Small holder farmers to restart the farm through involvement of BPICC.
Exploring export potential by strengthening quality control and involving the foreign consulates of Bangladesh. Need zoning of poultry areas to comply with disease free country regulation as per OIE (World Organization for Animal Health). We should emphasize the control of diseases especially bird flu.
Following biosafety and biosecurity measures against COVID-19 to protect people at the facility (FAO,2020).
Motivating the customers about chicken meat and eggs. Strengthening publicity through different media about chicken meat and eggs.
Exploring alternative sales and service channels through online sales and service and e-commerce during covid-19 situation.
Need coordinating efforts between government, private and other stakeholders to overcome such type of crisis .
Chief technical Advisor
ACI Animal Health.