The president of the World’s Poultry Science Association (WPSA), Bangladesh branch Moshiur Rahman said local producers were planning to start exporting frozen chicken in between two to three years’ time, mainly targeting the Middle East, where millions of expatriate Bangladeshis live.
With continuing bird flu concerns remaining a roadblock to passing overseas health controls, he said Bangladeshi poultry producers must deal with international certification, notably regarding HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points), to score significant export sales.
"This will open up a new window of opportunity and new horizons," Rahman told GlobalMeatNews at the show and seminar, dubbed ‘Safe food, healthy nation’.
Speaking at the opening session, Bangladesh agriculture minister Begum Matia Chowdhury urged the country’s poultry producers to explore the potential for exports, given the industry aims to double production over the next five years.
In a keynote address on the opening day, the director of Dhaka-based Nourish Poultry and Hatchery Shamsul Arefin Khaled said that Bangladesh’s poultry industry is expected to grow 16% annually over the next five years, aided by increased investment and consumption.
He predicted that total investment in the sector would double to US$6.5 billion by 2020, boosting the number of jobs generated by the industry from six million today to 10 million in five years’ time.
Annual per capita chicken consumption in Bangladesh is currently just 3.74 kilograms, which is expected to reach 8.42kg by 2020, Rahman noted. International WPSA president, Professor Edir N Silva, said that Bangladesh had good conditions for expanding the sector domestically – a large population (156 million people), a warm and favourable climate and weak overseas competition regarding domestic supplies of chicken meat.
This could create the foundations of an export industry. Citing Brazil’s success as a chicken meat export powerhouse, he said Bangladesh could learn from its experience. Moreover, as regards the Middle East, Bangladesh was closer geographically, he added.
Even without exports, "if you can double [domestic] consumption, what an effect on the economy. Imagine how many jobs will be created," he told GlobalMeatNews in an interview later.
Dr Roel WAW Mulder, secretary general of the WPSA, said Bangladesh should develop smaller-scale production to ease the strain imposed by the sector on its limited landmass.
Speaking at the closing session, the Bangladesh representative of the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Mike Robson said the poultry industry could play a crucial role in tackling nutritional problems amongst Bangladeshi consumers. He advised that chicken meat consumption should especially be boosted among mothers and children.
Participants from 23 countries took part in the show, which was visited by nearly 50,000 people, according to the WPSA. More than 40 technical papers were presented at the seminar. There were 297 stalls.
One exhibitor was the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), the major Thai poultry producer.
Mohammed Jubair Chowdhury, CP business development officer, said the company already had more than 200 outlets in Dhaka, serving mostly middle-class and upper middle-class consumers, largely aged between 15- to 25 years old. The company’s sales are powered by chicken ball products.