Livestock Research for Rural Development 26 (10) 2014 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Livestock in Bangladesh: distribution, growth, performance and potential

S Rahman, I A Begum1 and M J Alam2

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK
ishameen@yahoo.com
1 Department of Agricultural Economics, Bangladesh Agricultural University,
Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh
2 Department of Agribusiness and Marketing, Bangladesh Agricultural University,
Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh

Abstract

The paper examines distribution, availability, output growth and planning performance of the livestock sector in Bangladesh over the past sixty years. The livestock resources are relatively well distributed. Although availability per hectare increased for all types of livestock, a count of 1.55 bovine per hectare is seriously inadequate to support draught power requirements. Despite remarkable livestock product growth of 5.4% (dominated by poultry sector) and a stable Gross Domestic Production (GDP) contribution of 2.1–3.6%, budget allocations remained <1% of total outlay in subsequent plan periods. A host of interrelated factors such as technical, institutional, and social, are affecting the development of the livestock sector. A comprehensive policy for the livestock sector was launched only in 2005 whose effective implementation and success remains to be seen. Government should encourage private investment in livestock sector but quality assurance of day old chicks, drugs, vaccines, feeds, and breeding materials through legal and regulatory framework is necessary for sustainable development of the livestock sector.

Key Words: employment, GDP contribution, planning, potential, policy, private sector investment


Introduction

Livestock is an integral component of the complex farming system in Bangladesh as it not only a source of meat protein but also a major source of farm power services as well as employment. The livestock sub-sector provides full time employment for 20% of the total population and part-time employment for another 50%. The poultry meat alone contributes a substantial 37% of the total meat production in Bangladesh (Begum et al 2011). The GDP contribution of this sub-sector has been a modest 2.6% annually in the 1990s (IMF 2005) which was lower than the previous estimates of 5% of total and 10% of agricultural GDP during the 1970s and 1980s (FAO 1990; Planning Commission 1990). However, the sector’s actual contribution has been consistently underestimated as the value added in draught power used in farm operation, threshing, sugarcane and oilseed crushing, local transport, dung for cooking fuel and manure for fertilization of crop fields were not taken into account. An estimate of the uncounted sectoral contribution of livestock indicates a foregone value of three times the amount of official GDP attributed to this sector (FAO 1990). Moreover, livestock products, namely, leather and leather products, hides and skins are important exportable items contributing about 13% to total foreign exchange earnings during the 1970s and 1980s (Rahman and Bhuiyan 1991). Therefore, given versatile nature of the potential contribution offered by the livestock sector including curbing of malnutrition prevalent in Bangladesh, we attempt to provide an evaluation of this sector by examining its availability, distribution, growth, performance and future potential. We do so by assessing: (a) the growth and availability of livestock resources (i.e., bovine, sheeps/goats, and poultry) for each of the 17 regions over the past 60 year period (1949–2008); (b) the contribution of livestock and its products (i.e., milk and milk products, hides and skins, eggs and other minor products) to national income covering the past 37 years (1973-2009); (c) its achievements against planned output targets set by the government in various planning periods; (d) the constraints affecting the sector including shortcomings of the planning mechanisms; and (e) its future potential.


Methodology

Data on livestock resources, agricultural population and net cultivated areas for each of the 17 regions (greater/former districts) covering the 60 year period were taken from the censuses (1960, 1983/84, 1996 and 2008) and/or nationally representative sample surveys of agriculture and livestock (1977 and 2005) and Ahmad (1958) for 1949 data. Planning information was taken from Five Year Plan documents prepared by the government from 1973 to 2002 after which it was stopped in favour of Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (Planning Commission various issues; IMF 2005). Other relevant information were taken from various issues of the Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh covering the period 1975 to 2009 published annually by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and also monthly bulletin of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) for foreign exchange information (BB various issues).

Where appropriate, average annual compound growth rates were computed using semi-logarithmic trend function: lnY = α + βT, where Y is the target variable, T is time, ln is natural logarithm, and β is the growth rate.


Results and discussion

Growth, availability and regional distribution of livestock resources

The actual headcounts and growth of livestock resources covering the period 1949-2008 are presented in Table 1. We see that the bovine population experienced a variable rate of growth between the census periods and its overall increase is 1.00 per year on average over the past 60 years, which is not encouraging given the vital role plays in Bangladesh. The growth in livestock population mainly occurred in the poultry sector as expected. This is largely due to a combined effect of government’s emphasis as well as actions of the non-governmental organisations (e.g., BRAC, Proshika, CARE-Bangladesh) to promote commercial poultry rearing involving mainly women. However, per capita availability has declined for bovines, remained stagnant for sheeps/goats and increased for poultry over the period. But per hectare availability has increased for all types the livestock resources which are encouraging. Nevertheless, per hectare availability of 1.55 heads of bovine implies that there is a serious shortage of draught power requirement. When the resource is measured in standard livestock units, we see an increasing trend in the per capita as well as per hectare availability mainly due to the growth in the sector. We also present the regional distribution of livestock units available per capita in all the 17 regions of Bangladesh (Table 2). The overall impression is that livestock resources are relatively evenly distributed across regions with one or two exceptions. For example, the highest per hectare availability of livestock unit is in Chittagong and lowest in Chittagong Hill tracts. All regions experienced increase in the stock of livestock over time but at a variable rate, with highest rate of increase is in Chittagong Hill tracts followed by Rajshahi.

Table 1. Growth and availability of livestock resources in Bangladesh (19492008)

Livestock resources

1949

1960

Census

1977

Survey

1984

Census

1996

Census

2008

Census

Average annual change 1949-2008

Bovine (cattle/buffaloes/horses)

16,366,599

21,104,620

20,585,000

22,062,257

22,294,875

26,219,492

Average annual change between census years (%)

2.63

-0.14

1.03

0.09

1.47

1.00

Sheeps/goats

4,267,932

6,136,540

9,155,480

14,225,757

14,609,758

17,615,706

Average annual change between census years (%)

3.98

2.89

7.91

0.22

1.71

5.21

Poultry (fowls and ducks)

25,218,306

20,095,900

47,522,560

73,707,185

126,667,815

137,243,083

Average annual change between census years (%)

-1.85

8.03

7.87

5.99

0.70

7.40

Livestock units

11,131,923

13,175,554

15,960,304

19,824,423

25,275,195

28,595,625

Average annual change between census years (%)

1.67

1.24

3.46

2.29

1.09

2.61

Per capita of agricultural population

Bovine

1.53

1.42

1.12

0.90

0.59

0.88

Sheeps/goats

0.40

0.41

0.50

0.58

0.39

0.59

Poultry

2.35

1.35

2.58

3.01

3.38

4.62

Livestock units

1.04

0.89

0.87

0.81

0.67

0.96

Per ha of net cultivated area

Bovine

1.07

1.10

1.06

1.10

1.28

1.42

Sheeps/goats

0.28

0.32

0.47

0.71

0.84

0.95

Poultry

1.65

1.05

2.44

3.66

7.26

7.42

Livestock units

0.73

0.69

0.82

0.98

1.45

1.55

Notes: Livestock units (LU) for Bangladesh is computed as Bovine (cattle/buffaloes/horses) = 0.5 LU; sheeps/goats = 0.1 LU and poultry (fowls and ducks) = 0.1 LU as defined in FAO (2005).
Agricultural population of 1949 and 1960 are from population censuses of 1951, 1961.
Poultry population of 1949 is from 1940.
Source: Computed from Ahmad (1958), Census of East Pakistan (1960), Agricultural Censuses of 1977, 1983/84, 1996, 2008 (BBS various issues)


Table 2. Distribution of livestock unit per hectare of net cultivated area by region

Regions

1949

1960

Census

1977

Survey

1984

Census

1996

Census

2008

Census

Average annual change in the population of livestock units (%) (1949-2008)

Barisal

0.74

0.66

0.80

1.06

1.36

1.90

2.82

Bogra

0.69

0.64

1.03

1.16

1.69

1.74

3.13

Chittagong

2.61

1.42

1.22

1.70

2.14

2.03

2.00

Chittagong hill tracts

0.73

1.16

1.03

0.88

1.34

0.84

9.51

Comilla

0.87

0.97

1.23

1.36

2.13

1.94

1.70

Dhaka

0.74

0.77

0.93

1.19

1.64

1.51

1.32

Dinajpur

0.73

0.64

0.81

0.87

1.21

1.56

3.25

Faridpur

0.67

0.98

1.09

0.77

1.18

1.34

2.61

Jessore

0.64

0.59

0.81

0.82

1.52

1.93

2.77

Khulna

1.03

0.69

0.74

0.80

1.23

1.46

3.16

Kushtia

0.65

0.59

0.69

0.84

1.29

1.28

3.46

Mymensingh

0.74

0.42

0.57

0.92

1.40

1.32

2.19

Noakhali

0.78

0.82

0.67

1.25

1.65

1.86

2.90

Pabna

0.79

0.62

0.75

0.96

1.56

1.34

1.10

Rajshahi

0.47

0.55

0.66

1.08

1.26

1.69

4.92

Rangpur

0.91

0.74

0.90

0.80

1.58

1.69

2.24

Sylhet

0.43

0.71

0.75

0.82

1.21

1.19

2.57

Bangladesh

0.73

0.69

0.82

0.98

1.45

1.55

2.61

Note: Poultry population of 1949 is from 1940.
Source: Computed from Ahmad (1958), Census of East Pakistan (1960), Agricultural Censuses of 1977, 1983/84, 1996, 2008 (BBS various issues).

Planning performance of the livestock sector

Planning framework in Bangladesh in the past adopted a centrally controlled top-down approach that follows the footsteps laid down in successive five-year plan documents. A total of five five-year plans and a two-year plan plus a two-year plan holiday were implemented before the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP-Bangladesh) came into force. The PRSP process was initiated in 2001 but finally approved four years later in July 2005 (IMF 2005) which must have reduced its utility as a planning tool due to the unprecedented delay. Also, unlike the Five Year Plan documents, PRSP-Bangladesh contained only guidance instead of numerical targets. Therefore, planning performance was evaluated for the five year plan phases covering a 30 year period (1973-2002). However, recently the government of Bangladesh reverted from the use of PRSP and launched the Sixth Five Year Plan (2011-2015). But the plan document presented as a vision with strategic goals and objectives without specifying any financial outlays and numerical targets for each sectors (PC 2011).

Policy developments

All the successive development plans have emphasized three key national objectives for the livestock sub-sector but on an ad-hoc basis. These are to: (a) increase the supply of draught power via improvements in the quality and quantity of the cattle population; (b) increase the supply of animal protein from livestock origin; and (c) create additional employment opportunities for poverty alleviation.

The first livestock development policy was formulated in 1992 with a range of objectives from varietal improvement, capacity development to institutional development. But this policy document was not officially approved and hardly any attempts were made to implement it. It is only in 2005, that a comprehensive National Livestock Policy was first developed by Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock with two distinct objectives to be addressed via nine thematic areas. The objectives are: (a) ensure supply of adequate livestock and livestock products for human consumption; and (b) increase supply of animal power and animal wastes for crop production and product processing. The thematic areas are: (a) dairy development, beef fattening and meat production; (b) poultry development; (c) breeds and animal management; (d) feeds and animal management; (e) veterinary services and animal health; (f) analysis of Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), public agencies related to the management of livestock services; (g) hides and skins; (h) marketing of livestock products; and (i) international trade, livestock insurance and credit. The key strategies, particularly for the poultry sector development include: (a) input supply involving distribution of improved varieties of poultry, pricing, (b) emphasizing participation of small-scale producers, (c) import policy with no embargoes and waiver of any taxes on input imports; and (d) extended credit scheme for livestock development.

Table 3. Policies for the livestock sector during the successive plans (19732015).

Plans

Period

Policies

Dairy and Cattle

Poultry

1st Five Year Plan

1973-1978

a) Increase the supply of draught power by improving quality and quantity.

b) Increase the supply of from animal origin.

c) Generate employment opportunities to alleviate poverty.

a) Maximize production of poultry from the local stock.

2nd Five Year Plan

1980-1985

a) Credits and other inputs for small farmers.

b) Encourage private sector involvement.

c) Nominal price for vaccination and medicine.

d) Reorganization of the Directorate of Livestock Services for effective program implementation.

a) Maximize production of poultry from the local improved stock.

b) Increase the production of poultry feed.

c) Introduce nominal price for vaccination and medicines.

3rd Five Year Plan

1985-1990

a) Increase the supply of draught power.

b) Increase production of meat, milk, hides & skins.

c) Increase employment opportunities for women and the landless.

a) Increase the production of meat and eggs.

b) Creating new employment opportunities for women and the landless through poultry rearing

4th Five Year Plan

1990-1995

a) Providing proper marketing facilities.

b) Price incentives.

c) Education and manpower training.

d) Appropriate technology transfer.

a) Focus on improved breed, medicine, feed, marketing and other problems.

b) Updated import policy for poultry products.

c) Restricted license issued for large-scale enterprises.

d) Increase supply of commercial breed chicks through commercial farming.

e) Organizational and institutional strengthening for effective research, training and development.

5th Five Year Plan

1997-2002

a) Breed improvement through genetic upgrade and preservation of native breeds.

b) Increase fodder supply by intensively using available lands.

c) Encourage to set up small livestock farms.

d) Credit facilities.

e) Extend research facilities.

f) Training

a) Increase the supply of poultry products by productivity increase.

b) Special emphasis on poultry rearing as a value added activity.

c) Increase the supply of poultry feed.

6th Five Year Plan

2011-2015

a) High yielding fodder production through inter cropping.

b) Training of veterinary technicians and administer vaccination.

c) Remove constraints for the poor to own animals.

d) Proper vaccination.

e) Institutional management through cooperatives or entrusting large animal owners to perform management and finance.

a) Promote sustainable improvement in meat and egg productivity.

b) Increase layer farming.

c) Improve poultry management practices.

Source: Various Five Year Plans (Planning Commission)

Table 3 presents the policies for the livestock sector specified in the successive plan periods (1973–2015). The PRSP-Bangladesh recommended upgrading of this sub-sector to a full-fledged sector and to support its growth by increasing investment, R&D and other facilities (IMF 2005) which apparently was not implemented in the sixth plan.

Fund allocation and utilization

In spite of the importance of the livestock sector in the farming system of Bangladesh, livestock was always underfunded and did not exceed 1.0% of the total government financial outlays in any of the plans except in the Fourth Five Year Plan (Table 4). Within the agricultural sector, the allocation revealed an increasing trend but remained less than 5.0% in all the plans. In fact, the proportional allocations for livestock always remained less than half of its contribution to national income which ranged between 2.1–3.5% throughout the period under consideration. The Annual Development Programs and/or Revised Annual Development Programs further cuts the already under funded plan allocations (see lower panel of Table 4). Coupled with poor allocation, utilization performance of these allocations is also poor. Utilization level remained at less than 75% in most cases, except for the First Five-Year Plan, implying existence of bottlenecks in governing agencies affecting performance (Table 4). The information on utilization was not even recorded in the later plan periods for unknown reason.

Table 4. Allocation and utilization of funds in the successive plan periods (current prices)

Plan period

1st FYP

2 Year Plan

2nd FYP

3rd FYP

4th FYP

5th FYP

 

Year

19731978

19781980

19801985

19851990

19901995

19972002

Plan allocation of funds Unit

Total planned budget (public sector)

Million USD

4,977

2,165

13,607

8,938

11,248

20,116

Agricultural allocation

Million USD

1,311

596

4,395

2,524

2,530

3,073

Livestock sector plan allocation

Million USD

48.2

17.3

83.5

87.6

188.3

127.3

Share of livestock as % of agricultural sector

Percent

3.68

2.90

1.90

3.47

5.27

4.14

Share of livestock as % of total plan allocation

Percent

0.97

0.80

0.61

0.98

1.39

0.63


Utilization of funds

Revised allocation in livestock

Million USD

19.8

17.3

72.4

74.3

na

na

Utilization as % of planned allocation to livestock

Percent

36.0

na

47.0

61.7

na

na

Utilization as % of actual allocation to livestock

Percent

87.7

na

54.0

72.8

na


na



Official exchange rate

Taka/USD

7.94

15.06

14.79

27.97

30.85

42.70

Base year

197374

197879

198081

198586

199091

199697

aAgricultural sector includes rural development and institutions sector.
b Revised allocation refers to actual allocation in Annual Development Programs and/or Revised Annual Development Programs.
na = not available
Sources: PC (various issues), BB (various issues), and Rahman and Bhuiyan (1991).


Targets and achievements in livestock outputs

Despite poor fund utilization record, achievements in livestock production targets has been quite satisfactory during the later periods (Table 4). The achievement in the poultry sub-sector is more prominent as expected due to high rate of growth of the poultry population. The visible shortfalls recorded in the plan periods was mainly attributed to institutional bottlenecks, lack of extension and research linkages, poor design and development of projects and inadequacy of trained personnel (Rahman and Bhuiyan 1991).

Contribution to national income

The contribution of the livestock sector to total gross domestic product remained stable within a range of 2.1–3.6% over the 1973–2008 periods while the share of total agriculture declined consistently from 50.9% to only 14.4% during the same. Trend analyses reveal that the contribution of livestock sector demonstrated a surge from 1992 onwards whereas the agricultural sector overall lagged behind (Figure 1). The average annual growth rate is estimated at 5.4% with variable growth rates amongst the livestock products (Table 6). On the other hand the growth rate of the agricultural sector was under 2%. This has resulted in an increasing trend in the share of livestock sector contribution to agriculture growth, thereby indicating its strong potential in contributing positively towards national income at an increasing rate, if managed properly (Figure 2).

However, when we examine the growth in individual livestock products, we see that the main growth is in minor products (e.g., tails, bones, etc.) and hides and skins (a major export item) instead of milk and milk products, meat and eggs which is not very encouraging as such trend will contribute little to improve protein intake from animal origin, a major policy objective of the government (Figure 3 and Table 5). In other words, we need to address growth in edible livestock products to address the malnutrition problem.

Figure 1. Trends in livestock, agriculture and total GDP indices.

Figure 2. Trends in indices of value added from livestock products.

Figure 3. Share of livestock value added to agriculture and total GDP.


Table 6. Growth in value added from livestock and livestock products at constant (1984-85) prices

Annual compound growth rates (%)

 

19732009

19812009

19912009

Milk and milk products

3.7

4.5

3.4

Hides and skin

5.9

5.9

5.1

Eggs

4.3

3.8

2.0

Other minor products

7.8

8.8

9.0

Livestock sector

5.4

5.8

5.0

Agricultural sector

1.9

1.9

2.6

National GDP

6.3

6.8

6.0

All growth rates are computed using semi-logarithmic trend function: lnY = ? + ?T, where Y is the target variable, T is time, ln is natural logarithm, and ? is the growth rate.
All growth rates are significant at 1% level (p<0.01)

Constraints of the livestock sector

A host of interrelated factors such as technical, institutional, and social, are constraining development of the livestock sector in Bangladesh. Previous studies (Islam and Shahidullah 1989; Rahman et al 2000; and Begum 2008) have pointed out and recognized many areas of concern that constrain realization of the full potential of the livestock sector, such as lack of capital, outbreak of diseases, inadequate availability of inputs, inadequate institutional credit, guaranteed and profitable markets for output etc. Table 7 presents the constraints of the livestock sector.

It is observed that to expand the livestock sector, the input and output markets in Bangladesh is inadequate, unorganized and not industrialized. Most of the input sectors, specifically the drugs and equipments, are partly manufactured locally and partly imported (Begum 2008). The scarcity of raw materials as well as inadequate and irregular power supply have been mentioned by existing feed manufacturers as major barriers for the potential investors to enter the feed industry. Although, the BLRI and the DLS has released improved technologies related to feed, but till now these technologies hardly reached to livestock farmers. Marketing is another weakest link in the livestock development program and is largely exploited by the middle men thereby reduce profit margin for the farmers coupled with price fluctuations.

Table 7. Key constraints of the livestock sector

Key constraints in
the dairy sector

Key constraints in beef
fattening and meat production

Key constraints in
the poultry sector

Lack of skilled labour and qualified personnel in smallholder dairy farming.

Lack of quality livestock breed and artificial Insemination.

Shortage of quality chicks/breeding materials and higher price of day old chicks.

Scarcity of feeds and fodder including lack of grazing land and high price of concentrated feed.

Limited skill of farmers in beef fattening.

Shortage of poultry feed and feed ingredients.

Lack of knowhow to prepare improved feed.

Limited skills of butchers.

Low quality and high price of mixed feed as well as lack of knowhow to prepare improved feed.

Susceptibility to disease.

Lack of organized marketing system of livestock and products.

Lack of proper capital, equipment and technological knowhow to rear commercial poultry.

Inadequate veterinary care, medicine & treatment.

Inadequate veterinary cares, medicine, treatment and extension services.

Inadequate veterinary care, medicine, treatment and extension services.

Limited credit support.

Poor quality of slaughter houses.

Lack of skilled labour and qualified personnel.

Limited milk collection and processing facilities.

Outdated meat and control act.

Lack of organized input and output marketing system.

Lack of insurance coverage.

Lack of quality control facilities for medicine, vaccines, feed and feed ingredients, chicks, eggs, birds etc.

Absence of market information.

Poor institutional support for credit and technical advice.

Absence of appropriate policy and regulatory body.

Scope for improvement and policy implications

Technological progress has been slow and is of recent origin with policy interventions started from the 1990s only which has shown significant promises. Bangladesh government supports the livestock industry through three organizations: (a) the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock responsible for the overall direction and development of the livestock industry; (b) the DLS responsible for providing extension services to farmers; and (c) the BLRI responsible for conducting research on genetics and feed. However, private sector also provides significant support for livestock sector development. The poultry sector, due to significant policy and technological interventions in the 1990s, has provided improved breed, feed, housing, equipment, technology and management services which increased poultry meat and egg production. The DLS developed a new poultry hybrid called `Sonali` capable of producing both meat and egg, which is now very popular. Leading NGOs such as BRAC, Proshika, Aftab Bohumukhi Farms Limited (ABFL) and Grameen Bank are also significant players. BRAC contributed significantly to the development of the poultry industry in Bangladesh through its income generating activities reaching millions of women with positive impacts on income, nutrition and empowerment. ABFL is another example which contributed significantly to livestock development benefitting particularly small farmers through an integrated contract farming system.

The dairy sector also showed significant improvements from policy intervention. Milk production has increased due to increased use of cross bred cows. Use of deep frozen semen for artificial insemination has significantly improved the cattle breeding program. Small scale dairy farming has also increased due to the introduction of modern milk processing and packaging techniques. Successful examples of dairy industry are MILK VITA, BRAC-ARONG and PRAN. However, MILK VITA dominates the dairy industry run by Bangladesh Milk Producers Cooperative Union Limited. The operation involves milk collection from cooperative members, processed in manufacturing plants and then milk transported to Dhaka. All products ranging from pasteurized liquid milk, butter, powder milk and ghee, etc. are marketed through Dhaka. Scope also lies in the improvements in cattle genetics by setting up a breeding program suited to the bovine characteristics, available feed and climatic conditions.

Although there are a number of success stories, the existing growth in the livestock sector is inadequate to meet the growing demand. The planning mechanisms were repetitive characterised with similar strategies resulting in ineffective outcomes. Many of the old policies have lost relevance to face new challenges ending up as costly experiments with little or no tangible outcomes. Moreover, all the livestock farms are concentrated in only few pockets, mainly in Gazipur and Kishoreganj district or Baghabari in Sirajgonj district. The following policy measures are proposed to overcome the said constraints: (a) proposed animal slaughtering act should be enacted to produce hygienic quality meat production; (b) butchers should be trained in scientific slaughter, processing and meat preservation techniques; (c) modern slaughter houses should be established in the private sector; (d) breeding and multiplication farms to be retained by the DLS; (e) fiscal and technical support to be facilitated for promoting growth of private sector poultry hatchery and feed mill; (f) removal of input constraints, and establishment of a regulatory body for quality assurance; (g) improvement of dairy breed, feeding practices and veterinary services; and (h) improvement of milk collection and processing facilities.


Conclusions


References

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Received 6 August 2014; Accepted 17 September 2014; Published 3 October 2014

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