Diminishing taste, safety concerns and price fluctuations act as weaknesses for the poultry industry, the largest source of protein, which accounts for 10 percent of the total national annual supply.
This view was shared at the 11th International Poultry Seminar organised by the World's Poultry Science Association-Bangladesh Branch (WPSA-BB) at Le Meridien, Dhaka. There is an increasing amount of negative rumours spreading about poultry products, particularly in social media, said Shariful Islam, managing director of Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF).
Some have the perception that they have a lot of other options for safe protein, he said while presenting a paper on the poultry sector's branding strategy and roadmap 2024 at the two-day event which began yesterday.
He said understanding consumer behaviour was important and many people have a lack of knowledge about protein foods and benefits of poultry products. A lot of consumers are not considering broiler chicken in their top five priority lists of nutritious or protein food, he said in the paper co-authored by Saiful Islam of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC).
“Build awareness among consumers,” he said, suggesting that the industry operators focus on production of safe protein and its branding to popularise chicken and eggs.
He, citing development prospect of Bangladesh, said the country needs to develop its human capital and protein was essential for human health development.
Currently, per capita consumption of eggs is 85 pieces, which is below the minimum requirement of 104 pieces per year. Chicken meat consumption now stands at 6.5 kg, also lower than that in peer countries, he said.
“To expedite the growth of human capital, the national meat and egg protein consumption must at least double in the next five years,” said Islam.
RP Singh of Huvepharma SEA (Pune) Pvt Ltd, India said Bangladesh was among the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world and it was transitioning from a least developed country to a developing nation.
The country saw more than three times growth in production of day-old chicken and feed production in the last decade.
He said per capita egg consumption was expected to exceed 120 pieces by 2025. Poultry meat consumption is expected to increase to 10 kilogrammes by that year, added Singh.
“Opportunities are enormous,” he said, presenting his paper on the “Emergence of Asian Food Basket – opportunities and challenges”.
There are challenges also. Cost of production is the biggest challenge, he said, adding that self-regulation-in-production approach was essential for sustainable poultry farming.
Food quality standards must be upgraded to international food standards to build consumer confidence, said Singh, adding that branding and addressing consumer concerns were important for viability of the business in the long run.
At the event, attended by poultry industrialists, scientists, researchers and nutritionists from home and abroad, WPSA-BB President Shamsul Arefin Khaled said the poultry industry plays an important role in ensuring nutrition for the nation.
He urged the government to provide support in developing the sector so as to provide jobs to thousands of people, particularly in rural areas.
“If we want a vibrant rural economy, we must concentrate on the progress of the poultry industry,” he said.