The World Bank (WB) on Saturday approved a $500 million loan to help improve livestock and dairy production to meet the growing demand for egg, meat and milk and raise nutritional intakes of the Bangladeshis.
The assistance will improve agricultural productivity and market access of two million small household farmers and small and medium-scale agro-entrepreneurs, the WB said in a statement.
It is anticipated that by 2021 there will be annual shortages of 1.5 billion eggs, 0.5 million tonnes of meat and over 5.9 million tonnes of milk, it added.
Young children, pregnant women and new mothers are particularly vulnerable to nutritional shortfall. The project aims to provide food safety information through training, mobile applications, and other multimedia tools.
“Livestock development also has the potential to create more and better jobs for women, youth, and the vulnerable in rural areas,” said Qimiao Fan, WB country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
According to the global lender, the livestock sector employs 14 percent of the labour force while over 70 percent of rural households were also engaged.
Currently, 68 percent of the agricultural labour force comprises women, mainly involved in livestock and poultry production.
“Climate change impacts on livestock production threaten to hamper the development of livestock,” said Manievel Sene, WB team leader for a livestock and dairy development project.
“Rural households' livestock assets are highly exposed to risks, including loss of livestock, associated with natural events and major disease outbreaks,” he said.
Mitigating risks by creating an enabling environment for livestock insurance will reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers as well as enhance productivity, he added.