The World Bank approved $500 million to boost livestock and dairy production in Bangladesh so that the country could meet its growing demand for eggs, meat and milk to improve the nutritional intake of its citizens.
The livestock and dairy development project would improve agricultural productivity and market access of 2 million smallholder household farmers and small and medium-scale agro-entrepreneurs, said the Washington-based lending agency on Sunday.
By stimulating growth and improving livestock production systems, livestock farmers in Bangladesh would have better access to livestock services and practices, it said.
‘By increasing livestock productivity, Bangladesh will be better able to meet the food demands of its population,’ said Qimiao Fan, the World
Bank country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
‘Livestock development also has the potential to create more and better jobs for women, youth, and the vulnerable in rural areas,’ he added.
The livestock sector employed 14 per cent of the total labour force but more than 70 per cent of rural households were
engaged in livestock production.
Currently, 68 per cent of the agricultural labour force were women and they were mainly involved in livestock and poultry production.
‘Climate change impacts on livestock production threaten to hamper the development of livestock,’ said Manievel Sene, the bank team leader for the Livestock and Dairy Development Project.
‘Rural households’ livestock assets are highly exposed to risks, including loss of livestock, associated with natural events and major disease outbreaks. Mitigating risks by creating an enabling environment for livestock insurance will reduce the
vulnerability of smallholder farmers as well as enhance productivity,’ the leader said.
Production in cattle and milk, meat, and poultry meat and eggs were not meeting consumption growth, resulting in rising shortages, the agency.
It was anticipated that by 2021, there would be annual shortages of 1.5 billion eggs, 0.5 million tonnes of meat and more than 5.9 million tonnes of milk.
In 2015-2016, imports of dairy reached $248.8 million, the agency revealed.
Young children, pregnant women and new mothers were particularly vulnerable to nutritional shortfalls.
The project aimed to provide at least two million people with food safety information through training, mobile applications and other multimedia tools.
The credit from the bank’s International Development Association, which provided grants or zerointerest loans, had a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.
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