The local poultry industry and related businesses were facing substantial losses due to the coronavirus outbreak, industry insiders said.
They estimated the losses to be Tk 11.50 billion till April 04, according to a statement issued by Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) on Tuesday.
Following the Covid-19 spread in the country, production of poultry and fish feeds fell by 75 per cent, unit price of the day-one-chick (DOC) came down to Tk 1.0 from the production cost of Tk 35 and sale of poultry processed food declined by 95 per cent since March 20, it said.
Animal farming is one of the key economic drivers in Bangladesh as its share to the gross domestic product (GDP) at constant price is 1.47 per cent and its annual growth rate is 3.54 per cent, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
Mashiur Rahman, owner of a leading local poultry farm, said: "The losses will go up to Tk 16.50 billion if the crisis prolongs by one more week."
He said the consumers could not go to the markets and rural bazaars due to the government-imposed shutdown, bringing down significantly the demand for meat, egg and processed food.
So, the small, medium and large poultry farms were facing a setback, said Mr Mashiur, also the president of the BPICC, adding that the price of their products fell while marketing facilities shrunk.
In addition, he said, they were facing another problem in releasing the imported raw materials and ingredients at the Chittagong port due to non-functioning of the country's lone PRTC lab, a testing facility of the products before releasing the imported materials, at Chittagong University.
The Breeders Association of Bangladesh (BAB) president Rokibur Rahman Tutuil said the losses incurred by the breeding and hatchery subsector would Tk 4.58 billion due to the adverse impact of the coronavirus.
The Feed Industries Association Bangladesh (FIAB) president Ahtesham B. Zaman estimated their losses would be more than Tk 750 million.
The poultry sector entrepreneurs have sought government's intervention to recover the losses of the country's second highest job creating sector.
BPICC president Mashiur Rahman said that if the losses continue, thousands of small farms in the rural areas would be forced to close their businesses while the medium and large ones would be forced to lessen or shut down their production.
He sought exemption from paying interests on bank loans for next six months and 30 per cent fiscal incentives to the poultry and related sectors.
Mr. Rahman also requested the government to waive the delay fee at the Chittagong port due to delayed release of imported raw materials amid lack of adequate testing facilities.
The owners of Paragon Group have also demanded of the authorities concerned to distribute poultry meat and eggs among the people across the country as a part of the government's food distribution programme.
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