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Problems and Prospects of Poultry

Industry in Bangladesh: A Study on

Some Selected Areas

Mohammad Shamsuddoha
Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, University of
Chittagong, Bangladesh

Mir Hossain Sohel

Lecturer, Department of Marketing, University of Chittagong,


Poultry is a substantial contributor to food supply of Bangladesh. Many small and medium

farmers are rearing poultry birds in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is considered as one of the

most appropriate countries in the world for poultry rearing. Development of poultry has

generated considerable employment through the production and the marketing of poultry and

poultry related products. Small improvements in this industry will, in productive and economic

terms, give substantial increases to the benefits of the household may obtain from poultry, measured

as a relative increase of output. In real terms, output may go up to $150 per year— a small amount of

money, but in a situation where total income do not exceed $476 a year, such possibilities for

improvement of livelihood deserve to be pursued. The revolution in poultry industry has achieved

more than 200 percent growth last 5 years though they are facing scarcity of efficient or

skilled workforce, mainly because of new technology, using locally available feed

ingredients, breeding, hatching and other inputs. Having such potentiality for a long time,

Bangladesh could not be able to prepare her human resources for this industry. If

Bangladesh will be able to do so, the human resources can contribute much more than what

they are performing now. It will generate much more protein in our domestic needs. This

paper aims to show the picture of the growth of poultry industry, status of existing labor or

workforces and some recommendations regarding its policy matter.

Keywords: Poultry, Human Resources, Bangladesh


Land and life are closely entwined in Bangladesh. Over 80% of the Country's people live in

the rural sector and are highly dependent on an agricultural system that is finely attuned to a

tropical monsoon climate. The Human Development Reports – 2005 of UNDP indicates that

the total population in Bangladesh is 14.18 crore at an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent. The

per capita income is only US$ 476 (BBS 2006) and the percentage of literacy is around 51.6

per cent (BBS 2006, BANBEIS). 50 percent of the households are functionally landless (22

percent of the households owning no land other than their homesteads and 28 percent owning

only up to 0.50 acre) while 6 percent of the land owning households are controlling more

than 40 percent of the total land (Hossain 1997). About 47.5 percent people live below the

poverty line and they receive less than 1900 calorie per person per day as against the standard

of 2300 calories (HDI, UNDP 1996). In 1998-99, total meat production in Bangladesh was

656,000 tonnes, of which chicken and duck meat contributed 154,000 tonnes, which ra nked

second after beef. Per capita meat consumption was only 5.12 kg per year (Statistical

yearbook of Bangladesh 2000), and per capita protein intake 63gm per day (Statistical

Bulletin Bangladesh 2003) which is markedly below recommended requirements. As protein

intake is recommended to be in the range of 0.8 to 1.6 gm/day per kg body weight for humans

(Anonymous 1998), this requires 56 to 112g protein per day for a person of 70 kg body

weight. Thus there is a need to increase the animal protein production to fulfil the demand of

the people and subsequently to make them sound and healthy for increasing their working

ability. Meat production could be increased through chicken rearing, and chicken meat is the

most popular meat throughout the country. In urban or rural areas, any gr eat festival of either

religion or social origin is unimaginable without roasted chicken. People think that it is a

great dishonour not to serve roast chicken at a festival.

In a condition, where majority of the people are landless, under privileged, malnourished,

uneducated and poor, poultry rearing play a very important role for income generation,

poverty eradication, women empowerment, nutrition, food security and country's economical

and developmental procedure.

Livestock rearing rarely forms a separate land-use enterprise in Bangladesh. Nearly all

animals are kept on farms, closely integrated into agricultural production systems. There are

over 116.5 million chickens. However, with increasing population and decreasing land

holdings, the number of poultry is increasing at an annual rate of 5.9% (Reneta Statistical Year

Book, 2005) . At present most of the poultry birds are reared under scavenging conditions.

Despite rapid development of intensive poultry production in the private sector, per capita

availability of poultry meat (2.87 kg/annum; BBS 1989) and egg (21 eggs/annum; Huque &

Stem, 1993) is still very low. This is largely due to lower productivity of the indigenous

birds reared under scavenging conditions. This led researchers to put their efforts on

identifying the problems faced by the poultry farmers and recommending some suggestions

to overcome them. The theme has been explored through three major questions: What is the

present status of poultry production in Bangladesh? What are the problems faced by the

poultry farmers in the country? What are the ways to overcome those problems?

Poultry in Bangladesh plays a pivotal role in the economy of the country that directly

involves about 85% of peoples who live in the rural area. Bangladesh has a long historical

record of poultry rearing under traditional backyard farming. In 1935 improved variety of

birds were first imported from foreign countries by the Government. In 1947, six poultry

farms were setup in different locations in the country for supplying hatching eggs and chicks

(Reneta Statistical Year Book, 2005). After that, improved variety breed like White Leghorn,

RIR, etc. from the western country like USA were imported by the Bangladesh government

for multiplication and distribution to rural poultry raiser. The commercial poultry raising

started in the country in a smaller scale, which brought economic return to the distressed

women and unemployed youth along with some interested semi-urban and urban poultry

raisers to meet the growing demand of eggs and meat. In 1964, a commercial poultry farm,

Eggs and Hens Ltd., was established by the Late Mr. Ekramul Hossain, which could be

recognized as a mother poultry industry in the private poultry sector. After the liberation of

Bangladesh, BIMAN Bangladesh Airlines, started a commercial poultry farm in the name of

Biman Poultry Complex at Savar, Dhaka with a contractual agreement with Poultry Breeding

Farm of Canada for catering their own flying services and as well as transferring the

commercial poultry farming technology to the farmers. The NGO’s, espec ially BRAC, has

developed rural poultry model for the poor farmers that actually stimulated poultry rearing

activities in rural areas in 1983. In early nineties, a number of private parent stock farms

started their operation to produce commercial day old broiler and layer chicks (Reneta

Statistical Year Book, 2005). All the literature shows that poultry is such an item, which can

contribute massively to our country’s GDP if this industry can be able to make skilled human

resources. Nevertheless, lack of adequate infrastructure is the main scarce of this sector.


The Government is facing a huge imbalance between import and export trade. That is why

government is searching few sectors that will be able to generate more revenue or save some

foreign currency for the sake of the smooth mobility of the country. Poultry is one of the

important sectors for Bangladesh, which can manage more earnings if this industry is

properly organized. Poultry sector is facing many problems like scarcity of skilled human

resources, lack of technological expertise; inadequate poultry rearing management etc. That

is why, Bangladesh is trying to develop its unskilled human resources into semi skilled or

skilled so that they can contribute to this industry and compete in the local and the global

market. This paper tries to unearth the real situation of the poultry sector in Bangladesh and

at the end; the researchers set some recommendations to overcome the problems faced by this



In the light of the development of the poultry sector in Bangladesh particularly, the objectives

of the study are

@ To explore the present status of the poultry sector in Bangladesh

@ To unearth the problems faced by this industry, and

@ To suggest some recommendations for the development of the poultry sector in



This paper presents some results of field survey that was conducted in 2007. Data and

information relating to this study were collected from both the primary and the secondary

sources. Primary data relates to different commercial poultry farms that are established in the

selected sample areas. The study covered three regions of Bangladesh i.e. Chittagong,

Comilla and Feni on the basis of purposive sampling method. The total sample respondents

were 60 including 10 commercial poultry farmer s and 50 poultry workers. The non-

probability sampling technique was used to select the sample farmers and workers. The

researchers selected six villages - Sonapur & Champaknagar of Feni, Madaiya & Gazipur of

Comilla and Gahira & Kadurkhil of Chittagong to cover 10 farms and within these 10 farms,

researchers took 50 workers as a sample. Personal interviews and field investigation

techniques were adopted in collecting the primary data and information from the sample

areas. A structured questionnaire was used for collecting the primary data. The secondary

data were collected from different published documents such as Survey reports, Five Year

Plans, and Statistical Yearbooks. Further, various publications of national and international

organizations like NGO Forums, CODEC, DFID, NRI etc were collected. In the process of

analysis of collected data various statistical tools like weighted averages, percentages, tables,

graphs and diagrams were applied in order to make the study worthy, informative, and useful

for the purposes.


5.1 Poultry Production Systems

As per rigorous discussion in the XX world poultry congress at Savar organized by FAO, the
paper presenter has discussed the poultry production system of Bangladesh in the following

1. Crossbred rural scavenging production: White Leghorn (WL), Rhode Island Red

(RIR), Fayoumi are available in public sector poultry farms. These are mainly being used

for improvement of local chickens through a crossbreeding program through chick, egg

and pullet distribution, and cockerel exchange activities. At present, this program has got

less priority in Bangladesh.

2. Smallholder resident scavenge chicken consisting of several birds: Native chickens

are extensively raised in the backyard with night shelter and little supplementary feeding

by rural people specially women and children; the males are normally raised for meat and

breeding purposes, while the hens are raised for egg production and reproduction. An

estimate showed that about 75 per cent of the eggs and 86 per cent of the meat is

produced by this system. These birds are raised with little or no inputs and productivity is

very low and irregular with an ave rage annual egg production 35–45 eggs weighing 33–

38 gm (Huque et al. 1990).

3. Small commercial rural farming with pure line improved breeds: This system of

production is one of the main activities of public sector with collaborative program of

Non-Government Organization (NGO) managed completely by the women. At the

beginning, this type of birds was used for the semi-scavenging model developed with

seven components for rural poultry development. Many small farmers transferred their

farming from pure line stock to hybrid stock after having their improved skill.

4. Small commercial farming with imported hybrids chicks: The small farming

commercial producers receive day-old chicks from local hatcheries or imported ones. A

large number of youth and women have become small-scale poultry farmers in the

vicinity of big cities. The youths receive training from Department of Livestock Services,

Youth Training Centres and NGOs. This production system is expanding in the country

with the improvement of skills of the small farmers.

5. Large commercial poultry based on hybrids day-old chicks: These commercial layer

and broiler enterprises are expanding in the vicinity of the cities for catering egg and meat

to the cities. Numbers of this type of industrial ventures are very few which produce only

4 per cent eggs and 2 per cent meat of total production of Bangladesh (Huque and Stem,


Table 1. Chicken production systems

Investment on 40days (Tk in app

Systems No. of birds
Small commercial rural Farming 10 to 300 1,000-30,000
Small commercial farming 500 to 5000 45,000 – 450,000
Large commercial poultry More than 4,25000+
agribusiness 5000
Source: Field Survey

5.2 Poultry Sector in Bangladesh

Table 2: Growth of Commercial Poultry in Bangladesh (figure in thousand)

Particulars Year
1991 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Parent Stock 22.5 145 236 370 138 344 212 282
Day old chick per year 2025 1305 2124 3330 1242 3096 1908 25380
Day old chick per week 38.9 250 0 0
408 0
640 0
239 0
595 0
367 488
Price of DOC* 16 27.78 23.26 15.15 27.33 28.21 25.67 35.20
Parent Stock 30 750 1062 1381 1952 2358 2292 2745
Day old chick per year 3540 9000 1003 1160 1639 1641 1925 288225
Day old chick per week 68 1730 1929 2230 3153 3156 3702 5542
Price of DOC* 24.6 19.32 21.09 17.09 13.2 24.46 25.61
Source: Poultry Business Directory 2007
Note: Calculation is made based on parents stock (Imported & locally produced Parent
Stock DOC).*DOC mean Day old Chicks

Layer Vs Broiler Parent Stock (in '000)

Layer Parent Stock Broiler Parent Stock

91 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Fig 1: Layer and Broiler Parent Stock

From the above table it is eminent that the commercial poultry sector in Bangladesh is

growing year after year. The parent stock of Layer is increasing at an average rate of 133%

every year but some deviation is seen at 2003 and 2005 whereas in 2001, 2002, 2004 and

2006 the growth rate is 163%, 157%, 249% and 133% respectively. On the contrary, a

consistent growth rate of 125% is seen in case of broiler parent stock.

Layer Vs Broiler day Old Chick Per Year

Layer Day old chick per year Broiler Day old chick per year

91 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Fig 2: Layer Vs Broiler day Old Chick Per Year

The average growth rate in case of Layer day old chick per week is 133% except deviation in

the year of 2003 and 2005. Nevertheless, in case of broiler day old chick per week the growth

rate is consistently 125% on an average but no deviation is seen. It is also eminent that the

demand for broiler chicken is consistently increasing every year.

Price of Layer Vs Broiler Day Old Chicks

Layer Price of DOC Broiler Price of DOC

91 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Fig 3: Price of Layer Vs Broiler Day Old Chicks

Moreover the variation in prices every year in case of layer da y old chicks is very much

inconsistent whereas for broiler day old chicks it seems to be consistent enough for the last

two years.

5.3 Development of poultry Industry in Bangladesh

Poultry sector hopes to raise its annual turnover to Tk 10,000 crore from Tk 4,000 crore

through adoption of improved technology and increasing local consumption. During the XX

World Poultry Congress at Savar organized by FAO, leaders and experts of the sector have

sought more policy and fiscal supports from the government to give a further boost to the

sector. The supports sought in the forms of policy guidelines for poultry sector, 30 percent

cash incentive like that given to agro products, extension of tax exemption up to 2015 and

massive campaigns for raising domestic consumption. Sources linked to the World Poultry

Science Association-Bangladesh Branch said the annual value of per capita consumption of

broiler meat and eggs is $622 million in Bangladesh while the per capita meat consumption is

1.9 kilogram. However, the per capita meat consumption in Pakistan is 3.9 kg, Indonesia 3.8

kg, the Philippines 6.8 kg, China 5.4 kg, Thailand 14 kg, Malaysia 33.3 kg, Hong Kong 57.5

kg and Japan 13.8 kg. Experts attributed the low protein consumption in Bangladesh to

general misconception among people about broiler chicken. Negative campaign against

poultry birds cost the industry an estimated Tk500 crore in first six months of 2004 and led to

closure of 1000 to 1500 farms, industry people claimed leaders of the poultry association said

now about 40 to 50 lacs people are involved with this sector which has an investment of Tk

6,000-7,000 crore. The sector must achieve international standard through adoption of new

technology, which will reduce cost of production and ensure quality of meat and eggs. The

farmers, especially the smaller ones, need to be acquainted with the latest technology through

exhibitions and seminars, they felt. They observed that there has been remarkable use of

modern technology in the breeding sector that adopted environment controlled housing,

automated feeding and drinking systems, computer controlled incubators and sophisticated

diagnostics. About 100 per cent of grand parent stock and 60 per cent of parent stock are now

being raised locally in environment-controlled housing, the association estimates. The

international poultry show, forth of its kind in Dhaka, saw participants from 38 countries

exhibiting poultry techs, accessories and logistics in 114 stalls. The theme of the 4th

international Poultry Show and Seminar 2005 is Poultry Industry in Bangladesh: Challenges

and Opportunities where 36 papers had been selected from different authors from Australia,

Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Iran, New Zealand, Nigeria and Austria.

President of WPSA told New Age that Bangladesh needs to ensure quality of meat, feed and

eggs if she wants to explore export opportunities. “We are exporting 150 tonnes of poultry

feed monthly to Assam of India for the last two months and looking to ship 2-3 lakh hatching

eggs a week to Europe and Middle East shortly”. If quality can be ensured, the country has

the potential to start exporting meat within next six to seven months.

5.4 Role of Government

Some of the challenges in sustainable poultry development and management pertain to

deciding the most appropriate institutional framework. One is the delineation of the

respective roles of government and the private sector. Raising the level of capacity and

responsiveness of government poultry management agencies carrying out the ir role and

functions to implement sub-sectoral strategies. One of the important roles of government is

developing, with the private sector, a conducive and enabling policy environment for

sustainable poultry development and management. The role of government in poultry

development includes intervention in areas where the private sector participation is not

appropriate or feasible. In certain circumstances, this may be the case with respect to the

provision of physical infrastructure in strategic locations to support the integration of the

poultry sector with other sectors of the economy. Where possible, such infrastructure should

be financed by the private sector. In cases where government does provide essential

infrastructure, this does not imply management of the facilities by government itself; the

private sector may have a comparative advantage in this aspect.

5.5 Role of the Private Sector

The private sector will be expected to play a major and increasing role in the poultry sector.

Consistent with the basic principles outlined above and with lessons learned from past

projects in the sector, the Bank will promote the role of the private sector in poultry rearing,

feeding, hatching, processing, and marketing. NGOs are supporting for organizing poultry

communities, enhancing their awareness of resource management approaches, developing

community self-reliance, and coordinating ecosystem-wide resource management plans and



A rank analysis has been conducted based on the problems that influence on the development

of poultry sector of Bangladesh. The factors considered as important during the interview

with respondents are - lack of financial credit, inadequate modern poultry equipment,

inadequate logistic support, lack of adequate poultry rearing knowledge, absence of

government help and guidance etc.

Table3: Problems faced by poultry farmers

No. Problems 1=10 2=9 3=8 4=7 5=6 6=5 7=4 8=3 9=2 10=1 Total % Ranks
1 Inadequate modern
poultry equipment 230 36 40 21 12 20 12 9 2 2 384 11.20 2
2 Absence of adequate
marketing Knowledge 140 36 24 28 30 35 8 9 8 4 322 9.39 7
3 Lack of adequate
poultry rearing 150 63 48 21 30 15 4 6 10 3 350 10.20 4
4 Lack of modern
communication 70 45 32 28 30 30 20 12 8 6 281 8.19 10
5 Lack of financial credit 290 72 16 21 6 10 4 3 4 1 427 12.45 1
6 Inadequate
infrastructure and 160 54 56 56 24 15 8 3 2 2 380 11.08 3
logistic support
7 Absence of government
help and guidance 140 63 32 35 30 10 12 6 10 3 341 9.94 5
8 Lack of Private
130 81 40 28 18 5 8 15 8 4 337 9.83 6
9 Problem of getting
Reasonable price 80 36 40 28 36 35 16 12 12 2 297 8.66 9
10 Expensive poultry feed
ingredients 90 45 48 49 30 15 16 6 6 6 311 9.07 8

Grand Total 3430

[Source: Field Survey]


These problems can be overcome if some steps are taken by the concerned authority. The

main objectives are to develop huge number of unskilled people into semi skilled or skilled.

There are probable steps suggested by the researchers by the opinion taken from various

poultry farmers and relevant authorities. These are as follows.

I. Government initiatives: To develop human resources to operate poultry sector

effectively to compete locally and globally; government has to take major step like

create institutions for training poultry farmers and businessmen, increasing

infrastructure and financing. Government has to motivate the businessmen and their

allied to come up for better training and education.

II. To design Proper HRD planning for poultry farmers : Government authority

should take the overall responsibility to make effective human resources through co-

ordination of various agencies. This agency should monitor the co-ordination matter.

Effective HR planning and coordination is equally significant for the private and the

public sector in Bangladesh. Especially educational infrastructure should be updated

based on need. In Bangladesh, there is lack of poultry training institutions, it should

be more than that otherwise unskilled labor will never be able to meet up the future

demand of protein through poultry sector.

III. To arrange easy loan: Every organization like government, private financial

institutions, NGOs, and foreign investors should come up to give micro credit to

poultry sector.

IV. To employ professional trainer: To generate the admirable flow of skilled human

resources in poultry sector, professional trainer is mandatory for all. Professional

trainer should be hire d from domestic or foreign sources to give technical knowledge,

proper education, training, and motivations to the poultry farmers.

V. To adapt appropriate Modern technology: A low-cost intensive or semi-intensive

poultry technology should be initiate d for the sake of developing skilled human

resource for the poultry industry. These sorts of projects should have technical

capacity and ability of farmers to provide the required inputs exclusively from their

own resources.

VI. To arrange workshop, seminar, and live demonstration for rele vant Poultry

workers : The relevant authority should arrange workshops, seminars, conferences,

and live demonstrations for imparting training to the farmers regarding the latest

knowledge of poultry and marketing.

VII. To develop security situation: The relevant authority should improve the security

situation for smooth supply of day old chicks, live birds movements, poultry

accessories and equipment movements all over the country.


The role of poultry sector for developing human resources is enormous. Country like

Bangladesh has great emergence to develop her human resources into efficient and effective

basis for the domestic market to meet up the demand of protein. It is one of the substitutes in

connection with the development of Bangladesh. Skilled human resources can be able to

contribute to the society in a significant way in various sectors. There is extraordinary

competition in free market economy. Everybody compete with their efficient human resource

and increase their productivity, innovation of new products, ensures quality assurance and

create new market positioning. Moreover, efficient human resources should be created from a

good institution. Consequently, human resource development through good institutions

should be given the top most preference in the poultry development process of Bangladesh.

After maintaining all the recommendations, skilled human resources will be built so that they

will be the key factors or contributors to develop the poultry sector and Bangladesh as well.


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