Staff Correspondent: The poultry and dairy sector of the country have been incurring huge loss due to the lockdown for the outbreak of deadly coronavirus over the world. The farmers are facing serious deadlock of marketing their products in one hand on the other hand new checks and poultry food shortage also hit the sector.
The dairy sector is also facing deadlock due to marketing of milk. Every kilogram of milk is now at sold at Tk 5 in Pabna and Sirajgonj, the main destinations of milk in Bangladesh.
The novel coronavirus pandemic brought the entire global economy to a standstill. Rural small entrepreneurs in developing countries like Bangladesh, mostly concentrated in agriculture sector, are not immune to the effects of the outbreak either.
The Bangladesh government has declared a 10-day general holiday from 26 March. People have started maintaining social distance and staying home like other countries across the world in an effort to starve the virus of hosts it needs to grow.
In this dire situation, over 200,000 chicken are dying every day at hatching farms in Jashore district, as poultry farm owners stopped buying chickens from them due to the lockdown.
The poultry hatchery owners said they have been counting huge losses as panicked poultry farmers stopped buying chickens abruptly, as soon as the lockdown was imposed.
According to the Jashore office of Department of Livestock Services (DLS), five hatcheries in the district have been producing 400,000 chickens. Hatching a chicken costs Tk 32, the poultry hatchery owners said.
However, the pandemic has thrown these hatchery owners, labourers as well as the district poultry industry to a hopeless vacuum as the farm owners stopped purchasing chickens from them.
The hatchery owners said that they cannot stop producing chickens at the automated hatching farms instantly. It takes a minimum of 21 days to halt the hatching machines, they added.
Tofail Ahmed, technical manager of Afil Agro Ltd., said they produce over 100,000 chickens every day but could not stop the automated machine from producing chickens.
He said it takes four months to prepare a layer chicken which lays eggs for one year. In each cycle they put eggs in the incubator for 21 days.
“We must wait for the 21 days to stop production at the hatchery if necessary,” he said adding once it is stopped, restarting the process requires significant investment.
Aminul Islam Molla, an officer at Khulna Division of DLS, said the pandemic will have a negative impact on the poultry industry of the country.
Meanwhile, some people are disseminating misinformation on social media about poultry and eggs, he said, adding that that poultry and egg consumption was not harmful. He also urged people to let sense prevail and not to believe such rumours.
Abdul Mukit, deputy manager of Tamim Marketing and Distribution Ltd, said over 1,000 poultry farms produce about 1.1 million kilograms of poultry meat every day.
The price of poultry meat has fallen to Tk 40-45 per kilogram, he added.
Khandaker Idris Hasan, manager of the company, said it costs Tk 32 for producing a chicken from an egg.
“Over 200,000 newly hatched chickens are dying every day as these are not being transferred to poultry farms in time,” he said, adding that they are calling buyers over phone to collect their chicken from the hatchery.
Coronavirus, first reported in China, has infected more than 532,000 people globally until Thursday and killed 24,083.
Bangladesh has so far reported 48 cases and confirmed five deaths from the virus.
The government has shut down educational institutions and transport and advised the people to maintain social distancing. It also urged people not to leave their homes so as to avoid further spread of the virus.
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