A number of importers sought the government's approval to import 2,000 tonnes of beef and buffalo meat and 10 core pieces of eggs to control the soaring prices in the country's market.
They recently applied to the Ministry of Commerce seeking permission to import these products. Importing companies say if they bring this product, the price will decrease in the market.
As the production of meat and eggs has increased in the country, the prices have also increased accordingly. Farmers and traders demanded that the price of the products be fixed, but it is not working.
According to the application submitted to the ministry, “The price of beef and protein has increased due to the increase in the price of cow feed and syndicates of dishonest traders. If this situation continues, buying beef will be beyond the reach of the common people of the country.”
Even two years ago, beef was sold at Tk 500 per kg, now the price is Tk 700-800. The country is producing 8.44 million tonnes of meat annually, which is insufficient compared to the demand.
The price of beef is gradually increasing. If this continues, the people of the country will have to buy beef for Tk 1000 per kg. Therefore, to control the market price and keep the product price under control, beef and buffalo meat must be imported, the application reads.
Taking these matters into consideration, Ripa Enterprise, an importing company wants permission to import 2,000 tons of beef and buffalo meat.
The supply of eggs in the country is insufficient compared to the demand. Although the country has a daily demand of 4.5 crore pieces of eggs, now the production is 2 crore pieces, according to another application to the ministry.
As a result, the shortage is 2.5 crore pieces per day, 75 crore pieces per month, and 27,375 crore pieces of eggs per year. Importer Tiger Trading says the production is grossly insufficient to meet the country's overall nutritional needs.
The recent rise in egg prices has put consumers under financial stress and a nutritional crisis. In this situation, Tiger Trading has asked for permission to import 100 million pieces of eggs annually in limited form, the application reads.
Earlier, in November 2022, a total of six importing companies, including Tiger Trading and Ripa Enterprises, applied to the Ministry of Commerce for permission to import 51 crore eggs citing the country's egg shortage and high prices.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim said in this regard. “Market management is responsible for increasing the price of beef and eggs. Even after meeting the country's needs, there are still enough surpluses.
For this, the government has planned to export. Various facilities are being provided for farm expansion to increase production in the country. A new Dairy Development Board is being set up. So, there is no situation to import meat and eggs.”
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh spoke at an event in favour of importing beef from abroad on August 25. However, beef is not being imported to protect domestic producers, he said.
If beef is imported from Brazil-Argentina, consumers will get the beef at Tk 350 to Tk 400 per kg. Now they have to buy this meat for Tk 800, he added.
Experts say marginal farmers will be the most affected. In addition to collapsing the rural economy, public health will be threatened. For this, they demanded to determine the reasonable price of the two products.
In 2015, the Indian government took a strict stance on the entry of cattle from India to Bangladesh. Since then, it has become possible to meet the demand of the country's farmers and farmers for Eid sacrifice with cows.
Farmers are still bearing the burden of losses as there are 24 lakh 94 thousand 521 sacrificing animals that remained unsold in the last Eid-ul-Adha.
According to the data of the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association and Department of Livestock (DLS), Bangladesh boasts approximately 1.2 million farms, providing employment opportunities for a staggering 9.4 million individuals.
According to DLS 2023 data, meat production was around 9 lakh tonnes in 2001-02, followed by around 93 lakh tonnes in 2021-22. Meat production has increased by about 156 per cent in 10 years.
An 8.44 million tonnes of meat is being produced against the demand of 7.4 million tonnes. As a result, meat import was imposed last year. Not only that, an initiative has also been taken to export meat from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
According to the data of Chattogram Custom House, the import of boneless frozen bovine meat was 974 metric tonnes in 2022-23. The import value of these products is Tk 44 crore.
In the previous fiscal year (2021-22), this product was imported at a cost of Tk 577 of 13,206 tonnes. That is, 12232 metric tonnes or 93 per cent less imported frozen boneless bovine meat has been imported in one year.
Mentionable, frozen meat is imported from India, Thailand, Korea, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan through Chattogram Sea Port.
Insiders say unable to import raw meat, now processed meat packets are being brought and sold to restaurants. Processed meat from India is regularly cooked in hotels and restaurants in the capital Dhaka.
The country produces 6.38 crore eggs per day while 2,335 million pieces per annum.
This figure encompasses all types of eggs, including poultry quail and pigeon.
The per capita availability of commercially produced eggs is 100-104 pieces. At present, daily about 4-4.5 crore pieces of poultry eggs are produced commercially, according to Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council.