The government has taken a move to form a dairy development board for bolstering the growth of the dairy sector, promoting production of milk and dairy products as well as developing entrepreneurship in the sector.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has already finalised the draft of a law, Bangladesh Dairy Development Board Act-2017, to facilitate formation of the board.
The act would soon be placed before the cabinet for its approval, officials of the ministry said.
They said that the draft of the law was finalised in an inter-ministerial meeting held on August 21 at the ministry with its secretary Maksudul Hasan Khan in the chair.
According to the draft law, the board will take various steps to develop the dairy sector, set various standards of milk for use of different-age people including children, give registration to cooperatives in dairy farming, and conduct research and other promotional and regulatory activities.
Milk farm, milk processing and dairy products industry will have to take registration from the board by paying fees set by the government once the board is formed.
The board will be a statutory and autonomous body and run by a board of directors headed by fisheries and livestock minister or state minister as chairman.
The board comprising representatives from public and private sectors will also be able to set up milk farm, processing industry, dairy products production and marketing farm with prior permission of the government.
The board will prepare and develop a plan for producing milk as safe food commercially and individually, provide incentives on milk production, preservation and processing and create market for milk and milk products.
According to the Department of Livestock Services, total production of milk in the last fiscal year of 2016-2017 was 92.83 lakh tonnes which was 72.75 lakh tonnes in FY 2015-2016.
It said that milk production was increasing over the years due to increasing commercial farming of cattle for milk and meat production.
The production, however, remained far below the annual demand of milk at 1.46 crore tonnes.
The production of other dairy products such as pasteurised milk, UHT milk, milk powder, flavoured milk, yoghurt, butter, cheese, curd, ghee and infant milk foods is below requirement.
The board will also provide trainings to producers and traders on scientific, technical and financial management of dairy sector and implement projects for development of the sector.
It will also take initiative to create entrepreneurship for milk production and create milk farm and milk industrial zone
and provide loan to farmers for milk production at individual and cooperative level.
The board will collect sample and examine the quality of milk and dairy products and take legal actions against those who will fail to maintain the standards.
According to the draft law, the board will also set several standards of milk as a safe food for people of different ages including children and the farms will have to obtain standard certificates from the board for certain periods by paying certain fees.
It will also withdraw the certificates and destroy the products if any farm deviates from the standards.
Production, preservation and sales of low quality milk and dairy products will be considered as criminal offences, for which maximum two years in imprisonment and Tk 50,000 in penalty will be applicable, according to the draft law.
The offences will also come under the jurisdiction of mobile court.
It will also arrange awareness campaign about dairy health, production, preservation and processing.
The board will hold meeting at every three-month.
The board will form a fund with donation and loan from the government, foreign governments, international agency, fees received from giving various services and resources get from other sources.