The government has taken an initiative to develop a zoonosis and cross-border animal disease-free zone in the country to boost the production of animal protein foods like milk, eggs and meat by around 35 per cent through the innovation of agro-ecological zone-based animal diseases control model.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved a project to this end titled ‘Zoonosis and cross-border animal diseases prevention and control research’ in its last meeting with an estimated cost of Tk 150.42 crore.
Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will implement the project by June 2024 with entire government fund.
Commenting on the project, planning minister MA Mannan said that the contribution of the livestock sector is very much important for ensuring nutrition security, alleviating poverty and thus boosting the economic growth of the country.
‘This project has been undertaken to save the country’s livestock sector, especially the poultry sector from various cross border animal diseases and thus boosting its production,’ he said.
Talking to BSS, an official at the Planning Commission said that the main project objectives include innovating some 25 sustainable and effective technologies including new generation vaccines to detect the root cause, to prevent and to control economically important zoonosis and cross-border animal diseases.
‘The project also aims to enhance the capacity of the quarantine centers under the Department of Livestock to detect cross-border animal diseases speedily and flawlessly through providing necessary technical assistance,’ he added.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the contribution of the livestock sector to GDP in the FY19 was 1.47 per cent on constant prices with a growth of 3.47 per cent. Besides, the contribution of this livestock sector in agro-based GDP was 13.46 per cent.
Data from the Export Promotion Bureau showed that Bangladesh fetched Tk 4,317.86 crore from the export of both raw and processed items under the livestock sector in the last fiscal year. Bangladesh has almost attained self-sufficiency in meat and egg production although there has been slight deficiency in milk production.
Another official at the Department of Livestock said that cross-border animal diseases are such diseases which spread from one country to another country and thus could turn into an epidemic, posing serious threat to regional and international economy, trade and commerce and food security.
The World Organisation for Animal Health has identified some 20-25 animal diseases harmful for the livestock sector and Bangladesh is susceptible to cross-border animal diseases like FMD, PPR, bovine tuberculosis, swine influenza, classical swine fever, goat-pox, and high-level contagious avian influenza.
The main project operations include conducting survey regularly on zoonosis and cross-border animal diseases in the bordering areas across the country, zone-based animal diseases control model innovation and reducing the outbreak of animal diseases, improving the research facilities and other infrastructures at the BLRI headquarters at Savar, innovating modern and new generation sustainable vaccines, determining the quality of imported vaccines and thus creating massive awareness on prevention of animal diseases.