The government is going to undertake a project to rear some 5 lakh cows and buffaloes by rural people on cooperatives basis in seven divisions, aiming to meet the country’s growing demand for milk and meat.
“A project is being prepared in this regard where the beneficiaries will be provided with cows and buffaloes after training on improved animal husbandry,” said Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told UNB.
The Planning Minister said the country’s hilly, river-erosion-prone and char areas will be given preference for implementing this big project by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
He said the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry has been suggested to formulate such a project and send its Development Project Proposal (DPP) to the Planning Commission so that it could be initiated by this fiscal year.
Mustafa Kamal said the government envisages to improve the lifestyle and living standards of rural poor by making them self-reliant through cattle and buffalo rearing under the project and thus meet the growing demand of meat and milk for building a healthy nation.
The minister said a total of 5 lakh cows and buffaloes will be distributed among some 5 lakh families associating up to some 50 families in a cooperative of a particular area.
Of the total, he said, the number of cows will be 4 lakh while that buffaloes 1 lakh, especially for rearing in char areas.
If the project turns successful, Mustafa Kamal said, another 5 lakh cows and buffaloes will be provided to villagers to further boost the country’s livestock production.
Asked about the cost of the project, he said the cost is yet to be estimated, but it could go up to Tk 1,250 crore considering the prices of cows, buffaloes and the cost of other components, including training.
Ministry officials said the contribution of livestock to the national economy is about 2.67 percent with an annual 3.98 percent growth as cattle has multipurpose functions. It is used for traction of lands and cartage and produces milk and meat. Cow dung is used as manure and as fuel, and a substrate for methane production. Cattle hides and skin are used for clothing, bags and shoes.
Livestock also contributes about 17.15 percent to overall agriculture production. The country witnesses about Tk 15,000 crore livestock products a year with the leather and leather products earning around 4.31 percent of the country’s overall export earnings.
The Fisheries Livestock Information Office data till 2009-10 fiscal year showed that the total number of cows in the country were 23.051 million while the Buffaloes 1.349 million.
The data also showed that there was a huge amount of deficit of 10.96 million metric tons of milk in 2009-10 fiscal as the production was 2.36 million metric tonnes against the demand for 13.32 million metric tonnes.
Besides, the deficit of meat production in that year also shot up to 5.13 million metric tonnes as the production was 1.26 million metric tonnes against the demand for 6.39 million metric tonnes.