Published 26 Jun,2020 via The Financial Express - Bangladesh Dairy Development Forum (BDDF) has demanded Tk 50-billion ($523 million) allocation for fisheries and livestock in the next budget from the proposed Tk 31.93 billion to fight coronavirus impacts.
It sought collateral-free loans for marginal cattle farmers, subsidy for fodder and farm machinery, and tax exemptions on local dairy products to offset the COVID-19 shock on the sector.
The platform also exhorted the government to impose at least 25-per cent duty on all types of imported dairy products in the next fiscal to save the local industry.
The BDDF made the demands through a virtual press conference styled 'Reaction to National Budget 2020-21: How the Dairy Budget Looks Like' hosted on Thursday.
BDDF vice-presidents Uzma Chowdhury and Dr Quazi M Emdadul Huque, joint secretary Dr KBM Saiful Islam and communications secretary Mutashim Billah addressed the event chaired by BDDF president Umme Kulsum Smrity.
The BDDF, an advocacy platform for local dairy industry, placed a 12-point demand to help the sector recover from the fallout of the pandemic.
It suggested slashing duty on cattle feed imports and subsidising farmers in buying fodder and farm tools.
The BDDF also sought collateral-free loans to marginal farmers under the stimulus package and called for creating a 'guarantee fund' under a medium to long-term strategy for mechanising dairy farms.
Other demands include tax holiday for dairy industry for 10 years, cattle insurance to reduce risk of investment, preventing meat import, approving dairy policy and forming a dairy development board.
In a presentation, Dr Islam said local dairy industry meets nearly 63-per cent demand for dairy products in Bangladesh while the remaining 37 per cent is imported.
The demand for dairy products now stands at 15.20 million tonnes. Of them, 9.9 million tonnes are locally produced, he disclosed.
Dr Islam said the coronavirus outbreak has caused an estimated Tk 40 billion in losses to the industry in the last three months, around Tk 500 million a day.
There is only 10-per cent import duty on milk powder in Bangladesh but other regional countries have imposed up to 50-per cent duty to safeguard industry, he added.
"We propose imposing at least 25-per cent duty on the import of all types of milk and dairy products to protect the local industry."
BDDF vice-president Dr Huque suggested imposing anti-dumping duty on milk products.
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