April 30, 2004



Small Poultry Farms In Bangladesh Go Bankrupt


Over a third of Bangladesh's small poultry farms have gone out of production since the bird flu scare in January, farm owners said.


Most of the farms now face a serious financial crisis and are unable to repay bank loans. The banks are now filing cases against the defaulters.


Bangladesh poultry farms were free from the disease that affected mostly southeast Asian countries, but a rumour caused a slump in chicken and egg demands in the country.


Although the situation became normal within a few weeks, the farms failed to recover the losses they incurred during the crisis, farm owners said.


According to Bangladesh Poultry Farm Rokhhya Jatiya Sangram Parishad, a platform to protect poultry farms from the fallout of bird flu crisis, about 35,000 out of 80,000 to 85,000 small farms were closed down in last three months.


"About two-third of layer chicken farms in Gazipur area are now out of production due to lack of capital," said Hazi Abdul Barek, president of the platform. "Ninety-five percent of such farms have to depend on bank loans for capital."


To recover the default loans, the banks are going to hold spot auctions of the defaulting farms under Money Loan Court Act, Barek said.


"At least 180 farms in Gazipur have become bank defaulters losing their capitals during the market disaster," said Khondakar Mohsin, secretary general of the platform.


Describing the situation of his own area, Sreepur in Gazipur district, Mohsin said about 1,200 out of 1,819 farms in the area are now closed.


"The recent price hike of eggs is just an aftermath of a stagnation in table-egg production in farms during the bird flu panic," he explained.


The production cost of each egg is Tk 2.80, but the poultry owners had to sell it even at Tk 1 during the sudden fall in demand. And the farmers had to sell broiler chicken at Tk 25 a kg against the production cost Tk 50-52.


Egg production fell remarkably following the rumour, Mohsin said.


In the face of dull market, the farms reduced procurement of layer parent stocks, resulting in the egg production fall, said General Manager of Aftab Poultry Syed Monwarul Islam.



Director General of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute QM Emdadul Huque admitted that the bird flu rumour inflicted a huge loss on the country's poultry sector.

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