The commercial poultry sector has witnessed impressive growth since the early 1990s through formalization and large-scale investments. Over the last twenty years, the poultry sector has grown in tandem with rising consumer demand, which has contributed to further strengthening of the value chain through the introduction of poultry integrators. PoultryTechBangladesh, a consortium, formed with the objective to bolster the poultry sector of Bangladesh.
The Netherlands is internationally renowned for the responsible production of poultry products, innovation, and creating added value. Dutch policies and processes regarding food quality, product safety, and hygiene are considered the highest international standards. Dutch poultry sector players can add significant value in developing a more competitive and responsible poultry sector in Bangladesh, while simultaneously turning current challenges into business opportunities for Dutch companies.
To strengthen the Bangladeshi poultry sector, the PoultryTechBangladesh consortium has been formed and is coordinated by Larive International and LightCastle Partners and includes ten other organizations:
The initiative is co-funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the PPP arrangement.
Core activities of the partnership include conducting studies, demonstrating best practices, and transferring know-how via providing training programs and implementing capacity-building activities. The partnership will establish a demonstration hatchery allowing to offer better quality Day-Old-Chicks, multiple model farms (breeders, broiler & layers), and a demonstration slaughterhouse and (further) processing facility.
Under the program activities, Larive-LightCastle representing PoultryTechBangladesh with the Breeders Association of Bangladesh (BAB) and Feed Industries Association Bangladesh (FIAB) organized a roundtable discussion session consisting of key Dutch and Bangladeshi Poultry sector representatives.
The following poultry industry leaders were present during the session and participated in the discussion:
The discussion focused on challenges and opportunities for Dutch-Bangladesh collaboration among the industry players and public sector stakeholders. The discussion included the following systemic challenges:
Lack of demand projections in the poultry industry: To understand the future of the poultry industry in Bangladesh, the key industry players urged the need to asses demand for chicken and feed. While identifying the challenges, Abu Luthfe Fazle Rahim Khan. mentioned, “Bangladeshi Poultry market is not yet stable. The demand for poultry meat & egg varies with seasons, festivals, and the availability of alternative protein sources. Hence, it is important to conduct a baseline study on consumer demand to better understand protein consumption behavior and the findings need to be disseminated among industry players and policymakers for making more well-informed decisions.”
Need for ensuring traceability of chicken and poultry products: In the poultry value chain of Bangladesh, one of the major concerns of the consumers is the lack of traceability of the products. While large commercial players are being able to ensure traceability, they are lagging behind in price competitiveness. Addressing the concern, Mahbubur Rahman, General Secretary of Breeders Association Bangladesh said, “Regulatory steps need to be taken to stop selling live chicken at wet markets. This single step will ensure better food safety, streamline the value chain without the excessive number of intermediaries, provide a better farmgate price for producers, and lower the price of poultry products in the retail market”.
In addition, Ekhlasus Haque highlighted, “With the elimination wet market, Bangladesh poultry industry will witness a massive change in business patterns. This may take 5-7 years to be implemented; however, a small initiation in megacities is a way forward toward achieving food safety. Moreover, with the changes in the supply chain, naturally, preservation warehouses and cold chains will be developed. Through this infrastructure development, highly perishable chicken meat can be stored for up to one year when there is a demand-supply crisis. Lastly, while eliminating the wet markets, small farmers and sellers can be tagged with the formal slaughtering and processing industry, and as a result, improve the overall quality of poultry meat in Bangladesh.”
Lack of access to capital for small and medium-scale poultry farmers: Major share of the poultry farmers in Bangladesh belong to the small and medium-scale farming category. While their operations costs are generally high due to lower bargaining power, their profit margin is low given the major share of the margin is consumed by the middlemen in the value chain. Moreover, while commercial poultry farming has been witnessing an increase in productivity and efficiency through the incorporation of international best practices and technology, smallholder farmers are currently facing financial difficulties for improving their production performance. In light of this concern, Md. Ahsanuzzaman, Director and CEO of Spectra Hexa Feeds Ltd. stated “Access to finance is another key challenge for small and medium scale farmers of Bangladesh. Hence, for the industry to scale up, it is important to provide them easier access to working capital and loans, ensure insurance coverage and improve their technical capacity.”
Streamlining the challenges and opportunities in the Poultry Sector of Bangladesh: While the sector has been facing a multitude of challenges while ensuring sustainable practices in the poultry industry, industry experts urged the need to focus and streamline the challenges for the better possible utilization of opportunities. Dr. Bibek Roy mentioned, “We need to trace where the problem actually lies. The performance of this sector in the last 4 years was unexpected and the industry players want to grow this sector further. The government wants per person’s yearly egg consumption to increase to 160. The regulatory bodies are following control measures to restrict the usage of antibiotics and metals in feed by making necessary amendments to poultry guidelines. Furthermore, the focus should be brought upon disease control, and vaccination supply.”
When discussing the future of the poultry industry, Md. Nazrul Islam, Associate Vice President of ACI Godrej Agrovet Private Limited, stated that “By 2035, we expect that the annual egg consumption will go up to 323 per person from 105 and per capita, chicken meat consumption will be 21Kg from 7Kg at present. Hence, we should focus on food safety and develop a traceable and integrated backward linkage to ensure profitability for farmers and quality products for consumers at an affordable price.
The poultry industry of Bangladesh has been growing in tandem with the increasing population of Bangladesh and the economy’s purchasing power. However, with the increase in the number of players in the sector, the sector faces a number of challenges concerning production and technology adoption among farmers. While commercial players are focusing on adopting global best practices, smallholder farmers are struggling to improve their production performance.
As per Gordon Butler, international poultry expert, and consultant of Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Ltd., “The Bangladesh poultry sector has its unique characteristics. Hence, we cannot directly replicate the practices applied in other countries, instead, we need to collaboratively come up with solutions tailored to the Bangladeshi poultry industry.”
A few of the possible intervention areas for the PoultryTechBangladesh programme addressing the identified challenges are mentioned below:
Farmers face major bottlenecks when tackling virus outbreaks among the chicken, although the Government of Bangladesh has catalyzed the vaccination process within hatcheries across the country, the farmers are not aware of vaccination practices at the farming level. PoultryTechBangladesh can focus on the technical capacity development of farmers through training for improving biosecurity and curbing infection rates.
Furthermore, the processed food industry in Bangladesh is yet at its nascent stage and is led by major poultry players in the country. To ensure sustainable and safe development of this industry, PoultryTechBangladesh can focus on modern and safe slaughtering, processing, wastewater treatment, and rendering practices.
Lastly, PoultryTechBangladesh can focus on capacity building for facilitating the uptake of technology. Furthermore, through demonstration facilities, the program can develop a scalable model farm at a value price point, addressing the concern of lack of access to finance among farmers.
Stay up-to-date with our Thought Leadership and Insights