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Bird Flu Hits Bangladeshi Feed Producers

22 May 2012

BANGLADESH - Maize growers fear losses as demand for poultry feed slumps, after bird flu wiped out 25,000 poultry farms in the last year.

According to the Daily Star, prices of maize fell to 11-13 Bangladeshi Taka (Tk) per kg at farmers' level in May from almost Tk 20 in the same month a year ago, according to growers in maize producing districts.

"Traders are losing interest in maize. If some traders want to buy at all, they want to buy on credit, not cash," said Abul Hossain Molla, a maize grower at Damuda of Chuadanga, a major maize growing district.

Prices of maize, mostly used in poultry feed mills, may fall further as growers and traders expect higher production due to more acreage for maize farming.

Maize farming rose 24 per cent to 6.99 lakh acres in the current fiscal year from 5.60 lakh acres from fiscal 2010-11, according to initial data from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), reports

The DAE is yet to finalise it's production estimate. But traders and crop extension officials expect that output will exceed 10.18 lakh tonnes, an estimate by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

"The current prices are lower than my production costs, which has increased in the last year because of increased prices of fuel, fertiliser and labour cost," said Azizul Haque, a grower in Chuadanga.

Sudhir Chandra Nath, head of the agro and food security programme of BRAC, said millers are using higher production and lower demand for maize in poultry feed mills as an opportunity to drive down prices.

The feed industry is experiencing a lull since the fall in poultry farming due to avian influenza outbreaks at the end of 2011.

Md Moqbul Hossain, a maize grower in Bogra, sold his stock at Tk 15 per kg last month and avoided losses. Mr Hossain declared the government should buy maize to protect farmers against any loss.

TheCropSite News Desk

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