Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

BDFA demanded duty, anti-dumping tax on imported powder milk

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Business Desk :
Government should give more emphasis to produce fresh milk to meet protein & nutritional demand and look into the interest of the grassroots farmers. In a budget reaction, the milk producers said that reducing duty on filled milk powder (FMP) will hamper local milk production and will destroy country's emerging milk industry. So, they demanded to keep the existing 25 percent import duty as it is and add 30 per cent anti-dumping duty in addition. The demands were raised in a press conference held at the National Press Club in the city organized by the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers' Association (BDFA), said a press release.
Md. Imran Hossain, President of BDFA said that the local milk production has shown a tremendous positive growth. Dependency on import has been decreasing. "It is not clear to us why the govt. is encouraging import of powder milk when it has set policy to increase local production and going to implement the largest project ever worth Tk 50 billion funded by the World Bank". Hossain said that millions of farmers would suffer losses and investors would be discouraged. He said, in the major milk producing districts like Sirajgonj, Pabna, Jessore, Satkhira, Rangpur farmers are selling milk @Tk.29-35 per liter to Milkvita, Pran, Akij and some other companies, when the production cost is Tk.40-45. Sometimes they are compelled to through away milk failing to sell it at minimum reasonable price.  Mr. Hossain said that the developed nations are giving billions of dollars subsidies on milk production and the excess production is being dumped in countries like Bangladesh.  
Shah Emran, Secretary General of BDFA said that the FAO and WHO has advised to drink 280 ml of milk daily. From that calculation the present demand is around 1450 crore liter. Around 62.4 percent demand was fulfilled with the local production in 2017. Therefore, the import dependency was only 37.6 percent which was around 60 percent seven years back. Emran said that the quantity of imported powder milk has hiked up in the last five years. There is a 'commission business' here. At first the import duty on powder milk was 51 percent which was 25 percent in 2017-18 and now the Finance Minister has proposed to reduce it further to 10 percent. He said, FMP is not a natural product; rather it is made of cream-removed-milk and mixed with vegetable fat coming from palm or coconut oil.
Speakers said that millions of unemployed educated youths have joined this profession and NRB's have invested in this sector in the last five years. Around 50 to 60 lakhs direct and indirect jobs has been created. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) the total number of milk farms were 79,942 in 2010-11 which has hiked up to 5.5 lakhs in 2016-17. The livestock sector is contributing 3.21 percent to GDP and 8 percent protein is coming from meat and milk. The speakers said that the livestock sector will play a significant role in meeting hunger, reducing malnutrition, improving child & maternal health and ensuring food security in the future.

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