Bangladesh Livestock Industry: Sustaining COVID-19

LightCastle Analytics Wing
April 16, 2020
Bangladesh Livestock Industry: Sustaining COVID-19

Over the last decade, Bangladesh has been experiencing unprecedented growth in all aspects of development.  The country has exceeded global expectations in economic development with a GDP growth rate of 7-8 percent on average and a national per capita income of USD 1,698 in 2018.

With the passage of time, Bangladesh has witnessed a considerable increase in the consumption of protein-based and staple food categories. Subsequently, the country has achieved self-sufficiency in producing meat and fish along with rice and vegetables.

The per capita meat consumption of an average Bangladeshi amounted to 45.62 kgs, as stated by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh. With the increase in consumption of meat, public concern regarding the safety of foods sourced from animals has heightened.

The animal feed industry of Bangladesh has been slowly growing over the last decade as a key backward linkage of the animal-based food system. The market size of total commercial feed stands at 5.03 MMT. It is identified that safeguarding animal feed and feed additives (including medicines) is a significant step in ensuring safe food for human consumption.

Furthermore, with increasing urbanization and the popularity of processed food in the millennial generation and working families segment, the demand for further processed meat has also increased.

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During the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the agricultural sector is deemed to be a critical industry. The sustainability of the entire value chain of the Bangladesh livestock industry is under question owing to the outbreak.

A few major challenges for the Bangladesh livestock industry during Covid-19 are mentioned below:

  • Major raw materials of animal feed are soy and maize. About 50-60 percent of the maize and almost 40 percent of the soy used are sourced internationally. With the ongoing pandemic, the import scenario is most likely to remain stagnant, causing a crisis of raw materials for animal feed nationally.
  • In Bangladesh, the API used for animal medicine is imported for the most part. With the international haltering of transactions, the supply of API is about to witness an abrupt fall resulting in a shortage of supply of animal medicines for the sector.
  • With rising health concerns, there are misconceptions formed about the virus originating or transmitting through livestock (poultry, cattle), causing a decline in the consumption of animal-based protein. This eventually will lead to a financial crisis for farmers and other stakeholders in the supply chain.
  • With the supply chain of livestock and poultry products hindered, the price of DOC, eggs, poultry, meat, and dairy products has started declining at the wholesale level. SMEs incurring substantial losses are battling their sustainability in the industry in the long run.
  • As the number of animal production operations is hampered, the number of animals slaughtered and processed will also decrease. Insufficient workforce, inadequate farm truck delivery, and transportation facilities will also play a major role in the decline of growth in this sector.

The Bangladesh livestock sector is an essential part of the supply of protein for human beings. Owing to the pandemic, this sector is subject to facing privation.

The regulatory authorities must work in reducing the supply-demand deficit throughout the value chain. The government should raise awareness in clearing the misconceptions in the mind of consumers. It is to be duly noted that, with the fall of this sector, the whole nation would be looking at an economic downfall.

In short, the Bangladesh livestock sector, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, is in dire need of policy reforms and support from the government in order to fight its battle against the pandemic and survive.

The LightCastle team has been analyzing the macro and industry level picture and possible impacts wrought about by the Covid-19 crisis. Over the following days, we’ll be covering the major sectors shedding light on the possible short and long term ramifications of the global pandemic. Read all the articles in the series.

Author: Dipa Sultana, Business Analyst, LightCastle Partners

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a systemic and data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We are an international management consulting firm which creates systemic and data-driven opportunities for growth and impact in emerging markets. By collaborating with development partners and leveraging the power of the private sector, we strive to boost economies, inspire businesses, and change lives at scale.

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