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Livestock ministry seeks ban on meat import

TALHA BIN HABIB | October 17, 2019 00:00:00

The ministry of fisheries and livestock (MoFL) has requested the government to impose restrictions on the import of frozen processed meat in order to protect the local livestock industry, officials said.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) recently, the fisheries and livestock ministry proposed making some amendments to the import policy to discourage meat import.

"We've (MoFL) sent a letter to the commerce ministry with a request to make some amendments to the existing import policy and ban the import of processed meat with a view to boosting the local cattle farming industry," Additional Secretary (Livestock-2) Kazi Wasi Uddin told the FE on Monday.

The country is now breeding more cattle in keeping with the annual demand, he said.

So, the government should impose a ban on the import of processed meat for the sake of rural cattle farmers and the economy, he noted.

Besides, the country does not have enough modern laboratories to properly examine whether the imported meats are safe to eat, he added.

The official further said that they (MoFL) will soon approach the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to take necessary steps regarding the issue.

A high official of the Department of Livestock Services (DoLS) told the FE that the 'Bangladesh Animal and Animal Product Quarantine Act, 2005' requires a person to take prior permission from the department concerned for the import of processed meat.

But a section of traders have been importing processed meat without taking permission from the DoLS, he said.

Contacted, Joint Secretary of the MoC AKM Ali Ahad Khan said they have received the letter sent by the MoFL.

As per World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, meat trading is allowable, he said

Presently, the country is producing enough cattle to meet the domestic demand for meat.

The attainment of self-sufficiency in meat production has helped Bangladesh significantly reduce its dependency on the import of cattle from neighbouring India and Myanmar, especially during the religious festival of Eid-ul-Azha.

Cattle production has also witnessed a significant growth in recent times because of its demand and considerable market price.

The government's initiative to create self-employment led many educated youths to get engaged in the cattle farming which needs small investment.

This sector is creating employment opportunities for about 0.5 million people each year.

Around 20 per cent of the country's total employment directly depends on the livestock sector, according to the DLS.

Bangladesh also secured the fourth position in goat meat production, according to a report published by the Food and Agricultural Agency of the United Nations in 2017.

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