Meat and milk producers and stakeholders yesterday demanded restricting beef imports citing that it would hurt domestic producers.
The appeal came more than a week after Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the government was planning to sign a free trade agreement with four Latin American countries, including Brazil and Argentina, to increase exports to those regions.
Both Brazil and Argentina want to export beef to Bangladesh as they claim that theirs are better than that of other countries, the minister said at a press conference in his secretariat office in Dhaka on August 28 upon returning from a visit to those countries.
“People in rural areas, farmers and other stakeholders will suffer the most if beef is imported,” said the Animal Health Companies Association of Bangladesh (AHCAB) in a press release.
The AHCAB along with nine other associations, including Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association (BDFA) and Bangladesh Veterinary Association (BVA), organised a press conference at National Press Club yesterday to share their concerns regarding beef import.
The industry stakeholders cited estimates of the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) that Bangladesh’s annual demand for meat is 72.93 lakh tonnes, considering one person’s daily requirement being 120 grammes.
The country produced 75.14 lakh tonnes of meat in fiscal 2018-19, posting 4.27 percent year-on-year growth, according to the DLS data. Of the production, cattle and goat meat accounts for 55 percent, said the AHCAB press release.
“Imports of beef will be discouraging for farming of dairy and beef and affect the aspiration to be self-sufficient in milk and meat,” said Shah Emran, the BDFA general secretary.
At the press conference, AHCAB President M Nazrul Islam, BVA Secretary General Habibur Rahman Molla and former chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury also spoke.