DHAKA, Dec 13, 2019 (BSS)- Jashoda Barua’s busy engagement in her poultry farm has set an example for many that her efforts to self-employment did not go in vain. Fifty-one-year old Jashoda set in her arduous journey towards changing her economic status through starting a poultry farm named ‘Apon Khamar’ seven years ago.
Beginning with only 50 chickens, she currently owns around 4,5,00 chickens, 150 goats and 20 cows. Jashoda bought two acres of land to build her own poultry farm where a total of 25 women and 10 men are working.
“I had to face a lot of problems previously at my house and also in the society as my family was very poor. My husband was a rickshaw puller. But it was so difficult for us to run the seven-member family with the meagre income of my husband,” said Jashoda, a self-employed woman of Bilchari village in Chawkaria upazila of Cox’s Bazar district.
She said once an ‘apa’ who is working at a local NGO suggested me to build a poultry farm. “Following her advice, I bought 50 chickens from a local market. I started selling eggs at the market,” she added.
Jashoda’s modest start of a poultry farm subsequently turned into a big venture clearly manifesting the potential for expansion and employment generation.
She said the change of the mindset of the people has helped raise her self-confidence to take any decision. “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,” Jashoda added.
Her success in building her own fortune through poultry farming has come to light as an inspirational instance that leaves a message that poultry farming can be taken as an occupation especially by women, landless, small and marginal farmers. The lessen Joshoda has given is rural women can earn a handsome income within a short period of time by selling poultry birds and eggs.
Like Jashoda, 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.
Poultry farming has shown a unique way to hundreds of unemployed youth especially the women and given a significant boost to the rural economy in the district.
District livestock officer Md Rahmatulla said the state-run banks and other financial institutions have been providing loans under the government’s Poverty Alleviation Programs to establish different income-generating ventures like poultry farms.
Jashoda said Taka 1200 to 1400 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.
Sources said around 60 lakh people, of whom 40 percent 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 to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
There are presently 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 annual 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 is now around Taka 30,000 while it was Taka 1,500 crore only in the 80’s.
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.
Besides, he said, there are around 186 feed mills in the country. Of them, 70 feed mills are modern and registered.
The poultry farming can improve the socio-economic status of the rural people by increasing their income besides producing nutritious food through meat and egg.
With the changing food habits and preferences, there is a great need to promote export-oriented poultry egg and meat-based processing units in the country.