At present, Bangladesh produces 99 lakh metric tonnes of milk annually – 70 percent of the entire local demand. However, dairy farmers' sales have declined due to the current coronavirus situation, according to a press release issued by the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers' Association (BDFA).
Now, around 120 -150 litres of milk go unsold every day – which may incur monthly financial losses of around Tk1,710 crore for dairy farmers.
The BDFA President Imran Hossain, Secretary Md Shah Emran, among others, participated in a video press conference, on Wednesday, at the association's Mohammadpur office, and sought government support for this industry's survival.
Imran Hossain said, "Marginal dairy farmers have experienced problems selling milk in the last seven days. Some have sold it for Tk10-Tk12 per litre – while others have not had any sales at all."
"Large milk manufacturers collect just five percent of the entire milk production – amounting to 13.59 lakh litres," said Imran.
"The rest of the milk is sold to sweetmeat producers and domestic users. However, sweetmeat shops are closed due to coronavirus, and the farmers are seeing serious losses," he added.
"Three of the large companies have the capacity to collect 3.5 lakh litres of milk every day to process milk powder. Additionally, 10 – 12 other companies could produce dairy products including: clarified butter, butter, flavoured milk, ice-cream and more. If the companies and government do not provide their support, around 50 percent of dairy farms will be shut down," said the BDFA president.
He also stated that there might be a shortage of milk and milk products this upcoming Ramadan due to the coronavirus situation.
"Bangladesh has 3.5 lakh dairy farms and 1.2 crore people are directly or indirectly affiliated with them," said Shah Emran, secretary of BDFA.
"The dairy sector is threatened now because of the high price of animal feed, commercialisation of electricity and water bills plus other issues," Emran opined.
So, he urged the government and large milk processing companies to come forward to improve the situation.