DHAKA, Nov 25, 2018 (BSS)- Many nations are accustomed to a political reverie, that the correct policies can create an entrepreneurial class of the self-employed who will pull the economy up by their start-ups. There is no denying the fact that mechanisms promoting self-employment have the potential to significantly reduce youth unemployment.
The quest for self-employment and the increasing demand for chicken, meat and eggs have prompted many people to turn to poultry and livestock farming as ladders for becoming self-reliant. Even for many families struggling to make ends meet, poultry and livestock farming are most popular and common farm species.
Divulging from many common ways of becoming self-reliant, forty-five year old Jobeda Begum has made her mind to invest in poultry and livestock farming considering it more rewarding ventures. Getting over prevailing hardships experienced by agricultural production she has now around 5,000 chickens, 300 goats and 215 sheep.
“I had to face a lot of problems previously at my house and the society in performing my responsibilities as a woman…But those problems have now gone as the men’s outlook towards the women has been changed significantly,” said Jobeda, a self-employed woman of Madonpur village in Netrakona district.
Jobeda said Taka 1000 to 1200 is needed for rearing a hybrid chicken, which lays 320 to 350 eggs a year. “So, I can easily maintain my family and make some money” she added.
She said the change of the mindset of the people has helped raised her self-confidence to take any decision independently.
Jobeda said this has been possible as women empowerment in Bangladesh witnessed a stunning progress over the last few years, especially during the tenure of the present government.
Like Jobeda, many others women credited the present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with empowering women as her administration has taken many pragmatic and epoch-making steps for the development and welfare of womenfolk.
Over the years, the poultry farming has seen a tremendous growth due to high demand for their products, especially in townships throughout the country. Meat and eggs are considered complete proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids needed for humans as well as imported fats, minerals and vitamins our bodies need.
Self-employment is considered politically convenient, it shifts the onus from governments to individuals, and in the event of turning unemployed people into employees, schemes to encourage self-employment really seem actually work.
Furthermore, the poultry industry has a recognised potential to generate higher income and transform living standards if appropriate interventions are developed and implemented.
Netrakona District Livestock Officer Sankar Kumar Bosak told BSS that the state-run banks and other financial institutions have been providing loans under the government’s Poverty Alleviation Programs to establish different income generating activities like poultry farms.
There are around 3000 big, medium and small size poultry farms in the district, creating jobs for hundreds of unemployed people and boosting rural economy in the area, he added.
Over a dozen of poultry farm women owners of the district said the lifestyles of many unemployed people especially women have been changed through setting up poultry farms.
Sources said around 60 lakh people, of whom 40 percent are women, are currently employed in the country’s poultry industry directly or indirectly.
Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) President Mashiur Rahman said the investment in the industry is above Taka 30,000 crore while it contributed about 2 percent in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
There are about 65,000 to 70,000 poultry farms across the country, Mashiur added.
He said around 821 crore eggs were produced from the poultry farms in 2016 while the number was 712 crore in 2015 and 639 crore in 2014. The demand for eggs will increase to about 1,480 crore by 2021, he said.
The BPICC president said the poultry industry is developing gradually reducing import dependency. A silent revolution has taken place in this sector as the investment in the sector is now around Taka 30,000 while it was Taka 1,500 crore in the 80s.
According to the BPICC sources, the production of chicken was 6.75 lakh metric tons in 2016 while it was 5.74 lakh metric tons in 2016 and 5.51 lakh metric tons in 2014.
Mashiur said, “We are now self-reliant in producing eggs and broiler chickens. We have seven grandparent stock farms and around 80 small parent stock farms across the country.”
Besides, he said, there are around 186 feed mills in the country. Of them, 70 feed mills are modern and registered.
The success of Jubeda’s chickens and goats can act as a model for many small scale farmers in both rural and urban areas. She offers hope for the opportunity to utilise land, however small, in order to sustain livelihoods. It is a move towards the eradication of hunger and poverty levels of many households in a time when human population and the demand for food rise as agricultural land diminishes.
Small scale farming is a way of life in Bangladesh full of challenges and equally full of huge opportunities. The poultry and livestock farming contribute significantly to the socio-economic and nutritional needs of million people, many living in rural areas.