Dairy farmers have demanded the government to immediately cancel the decision of exporting soybean meal to protect the country's dairy, poultry and fisheries sectors from incurring losses.
The Bangladesh Dairy Farmers' Association (BDFA) made the demand at a press conference on Monday at the national press club fearing the dairy and other related food items prices would be hiked further if the decision is not revoked immediately.
The cost of food is 65.70 per cent of the total cost of poultry and cattle production and farming, and the main food ingredients in commercial food preparation are soybean mill or soybean extraction, rice powder, wheat bran, pulse bran, etc.
“The country's soybean meal producers import soybean seeds in duty-free process and produce and sell soybean oil and soybean meal in the domestic market as by-products,” said the president of the association Mohammed Imran Hossain at the press conference.
The two most widely used ingredients are corn and soybean meal in the dairy and poultry industry in the country, he added.
The total demand for soybean meal in Bangladesh is about 1.8 to 2.0 million metric tons per year. Of this, 75 to 80 per cent is procured from domestic soybean oil producers and the remaining 20 to 25 per cent is imported.
Bangladesh, apart from local production, is currently importing soybean meal from various countries including India, US, Brazil, and Argentina, he mentioned in a written statement.
“About 70 to 75 per cent of the total cost of producing eggs, fish, and poultry is spent on buying feed. So, if the price of feed increases, the production cost of farmers will increase ultimately. On the other hand, farmers will have to face huge losses if they do not get a fair price of their produce,” he continued.
Soybean seeds are being imported with zero duty facility to help to flourish the industry, but now the soybean meal is being exported to make a benefit for some three to four soybean oil-producing companies, they said with frustration.
“In the past, Bangladesh has never exported soybean seeds or soybean meal, rather a significant amount of soybean meals is imported from India almost every year,” he added.
The government’s decision of exporting the meals has seen an increase in the price of the feed Tk 10-12 per kg. This has created an artificial crisis in the market, the BDFA added.
The export decision needs to be canceled immediately, otherwise, food prices will go up in the country's poultry, fisheries, and livestock sectors, and farmers will suffer huge losses.
The commerce ministry is pushing the domestic egg, milk, fish, meat, and feed producing companies towards collapsing by exposing exports in the interest of other countries' industries, they alleged.
Among others, BDFA Also vice-president Ali Azam Rahman Shibli and General Secretary Shah Emran, representatives of different farm owners' associations, including the Bangladesh Fish Farmers Association were present at the press conference.