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India's ban on cattle export: A blessing for Bangladesh

  • Published at 06:09 pm August 9th, 2019
Traders-cattle-Rajib Dhar-Dhaka Tribune
File photo: A trader struggles to take his cow to the market Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

According to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), 11.18 million livestock are being reared across the country mainly to be sold for the  Eid-ul-Azha celebrations.

Bangladesh, once highly dependent on Indian cattle, today is almost self-reliant in meeting its own demand, even when millions of cattle are slaughtered across Bangladesh during the religious festival of Eid-ul-Azha. 

According to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), 11.18 million livestock are being reared across the country mainly to be sold for the  Eid-ul-Azha celebrations. 

The number of locally reared cattle includes - 4.58 million cows and buffaloes, 7.20 million goats and sheep, and hundreds of other sacrificial animals – now available at hand, DLS officials said.

Md Mahbubur Rahman, director (production) of DLS said, in 2014 after India imposed a ban on the export of cows, farmers in Bangladesh earned a huge profit by selling cattle at the time of Eid-ul-Azha, which encouraged them to start the business on a larger scale.

“On Friday I went to two cattle markets- Kaula and Tejgaon- and was astonished to see cows in multitude, if there is no artificial crisis, there will be no shortage this year. Rather, many farmers might have to return with their unsold cows,” he added.

Bangladesh is attaining self-sufficiency in meat production, as cattle imports and its entry from neighboring India, and Myanmar has reduced significantly.

Ban on cattle export

India's ban on cattle export helped Bangladesh attain self sufficiency. A large number of farmers, and traders got involved in cattle rearing, reducing the dependency on imported animals, they added.

Cattle production has witnessed a significant growth in recent times because of its demand, and considerable market price, Md Mahbubur Rahman said.

The government's initiative to create self-employment led many graduates to get engage in cattle trade as it is less risky, needs small investment, and space.

The sector is creating employment opportunities for about 5 lakh people each year, while 20% of the country’s total employment directly depends on the livestock sector, DLS said.

Daya of the department says, in 2018 there were 4,42,991 farms which produced 28,14,248 cows, this year the number has increased to 28,85,142.

An estimated 2.4 to 2.5 million Indian cows used to enter Bangladesh illegally, but there is no official figure on it yet.

The latest data compiled by Border Guard Bangladesh shows, around 23lakh cows entered Bangladesh in 2013, while this year, till May, only 75,696 cows entered via the corridors, and the country earned Tk37,61,850 from it.

Prospects bright

Mahbubur Rahman believes that Bangladesh is no longer dependent on neighboring countries for meat production, rather it is planning to export if the present growth continues.

“India is exporting cows to many countries, we also see a bright prospect for this business. There are some international issues like- if we can vaccinate our cows properly, and ensure ban on steroid use. We can explore the opportunity,” he added.

According to a report published by the Food and Agricultural Agency of the United Nations in 2017, Bangladesh secured fourth position in goat meat production. 

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