Dr. F H Ansarey:The price for beef in Bangladesh is one of the highest in South Asia. Compared to many countries, the price of beef is significantly high. The restriction of illegal trade of cattle from nearby countries enabled our farmers to achieve self-sufficiency in beef production. However, price of beef seems ever-increasing in the country. Some policy support has been instrumental in this regard at this moment as a large number of new entrepreneurs came forward to invest along with public sector. Policy support for selection of beef breed cattle varieties can lead to further benefits in the sector.
Most of the cattle in Bangladesh are indigenous in origin. The prominent ones are Red Chittagong, North Bengal Grey, Pabna and Munshiganj, among the verities none is suitable for milk or meat production having high food conversion ratio (FCR). One or more indigenous variety may use in cross breeding for beef production exclusively. Many breeds are contributing a lot for meat production worldwide, still absent any beef breed in our domestic livestock segment. Earlier, the government took initiatives to cross-breeding with exotic high-yielding beef cattle-Brahman with the local ones. But those varieties were not made commercially available for local farmers.
There are certainly some challenges in introducing exotic beef breed variety in the country. Presently farmers are rearing cattle for both meat and milk purposes. Careless inter breeding of beef breed cattle with milk producing varieties will jeopardize the dairy industry. The knowledge developed through the long-term experience of cross breeding of our khamari and artificial insemination workers will reduce the risk of careless inter breeding.
However, clear guideline by the policy makers and strict implementation of rules for such inter breeding must be in place. Another significant challenge is the feeding management, balanced feed should be available and cost-effective for profitable & sustainable to the farmers. With proper policy support in breeds, feeds and skills development of actors related to beef production, we can take our national beef production further increase and eventually export in greater quantities in near future.
Writer:President, ACI Agribusinesses Division