Dairy farmers and organizations at a programme in the city on Tuesday feared that lower import duty proposed in the budget would destroy the dairy sector of the country.
In the 2018-19 national budget proposal was made to lower import duty on powdered milk to 10 percent from 25 percent.
In a programme organized by Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association (BDFA) at National Press Club, the Association and dairy farmers urged the government to increase import duty to 30 percent to safeguard local dairy farmers.
BDFA President Md Imran Hossain said, low import duty will pave the way for the import of substandard powdered milk, which is available at lower price and this would pose a threat to public health.
Country’s dairy sector is not only contributing in food security and nutrition but also in country’s economy while playing important role in creating employment, he said.
At this point, import tariff reduction on milk powder would destroy the rising sector of the country affecting local dairy farmers and producers, he said adding that thus this sector will again become dependent on India.
He also claimed that local farmers are not being able to lower their production cost as the government is not giving any subsidy in this sector like the neighbouring countries.
BDFA General Secretary Shah Imran urged the government to increase the import duty.
“Our local dairy farmers are often forced to throw away their produced milk as they fail to sell them at lower price due to high production cost. In this situation, lowering import tax on FMP will only increase their sufferings”, he said.
Among the dairy farmers, Mohammad Ali urged the government to take initiative to develop veterinary facilities, lower the cost of animal feed.
The speakers said in the last five years, thousands of young entrepreneurs and expatriates invested in this sector creating employment for 50 to 60 lakh people directly and indirectly.
They sought government patronization in production and marketing in this sector to protect the local dairy farmers.
Among others, General Secretary of Bangladesh National Dairy Development Forum (NDDF) Anisur Rahman, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh SME Corporation Ltd Arunangshu Dutta, its Director Azad Chowdhury, General Secretary of Veterinary Association Hasib Mollah, and Director General of Milk Vita Md Mustafizur Rahman also spoke in the occasion.