September 22, 2021: Assalamu Alaikum. Good morning Journalists of renowned and popular media of the country welcome all of you to today’s ‘Meet the Press’ program. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for responding to our request in the midst of so many tasks.
You are aware that the domestic poultry, fisheries and dairy sectors are ensuring the production and supply of eggs, milk, fish and meat for the people of the country at affordable prices. Recently, the Ministry of Commerce has given permission for the export of ‘Soybean Mill’, an essential ingredient for making poultry, fish and cattle feed. There is concern among farmers and entrepreneurs about this.
Today we are here to present to you more clearly the logical reasons for our claim.
Dear journalist friends, I would like to inform you that the main raw materials used in making poultry, dairy and animal feed are wheat, soybean mill, wheat, flour, flour, broken rice, rice husk, fish mill, mustard oil, oil. , Vitamins, minerals, etc. are one of them. The two most commonly used ingredients are (1) corn and (2) soybean meal. Wheat consumption is about 50-55 per cent and soybean meal is about 25-35 per cent. Wheat cultivation has increased in Bangladesh over the past few years. At present, about 50 per cent of the total domestic demand is being produced in the country. However, soybean production is negligible.
One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that most of the raw materials used in the feed mills of our country have to be imported from different countries of the world. The currently demanded ‘Soybean Mill’ is imported from India, America, Brazil, Argentina etc. besides the domestic soybean oil producing companies. The total demand of ‘Soybean Mill’ in our country is about 18-20 lakh metric tons per year. Of this, 75-80 per cent is procured from domestic soybean oil producers and the remaining 20-25 per cent is imported. It is also pertinent to mention here that the only buyers of soybean mills produced in the country are poultry, fish, cattle and feed producing establishments and general farmers.
Farmers are worried about the decision to export soybean mills as about 60-65 per cent of the total cost of production of eggs, fish and poultry is spent on purchase of feed. So when the price of feed increases, the production cost of farmers increases; On the other hand, they have to face huge losses as they do not get a fair price for the product as opposed to the cost.
In order to meet the nutritional needs of the people of the country, the government has allowed the import of ‘soybean seeds’ at zero duty or tax-free facility to ensure the supply of soybean oil, poultry, fish and beef staples at affordable prices. After extracting soybean oil from ‘soybean seed’, ‘soybean mill’ is made from the remaining husk. Soybean mills produced from that soybean seed, which was brought to zero duty facility in the interest of the people of the country, are now exporting 3-4 soybean oil producing companies for profit. In the past, India has never exported soybean seeds or soybean mills, but a significant amount of soybean mills are imported from India to Bangladesh almost every year.
In the past, most of the soybean mills were imported from different parts of the world to meet the demand.
At present, it takes about 50 days to import soybean mills from Brazil and Argentina, from LC to the time the goods arrive at the port. It takes 60 days from the United States. 8-10 days by road from India, 15-20 days by container. As the price of soybean mill has gone up in the world market as well as in neighboring India, the interest of feed manufacturers in India, Nepal and other countries has increased to protect the poultry, dairy and fish industries of that country and to import soybean mill from Bangladesh in the shortest possible time. We had no difficulty in exporting if we had surplus but when the demand of the country is not going to be met domestically; Then why the decision to export?
Local soybean mill producers have increased the price of soybean mills by Tk 10-12 per kg since the news broke in the national media that the government has decided to export soybean mills; Reduced supply; This has created an artificial crisis in the market. The soybean mill crisis is hampering the production of many feedmills; Production costs have risen. Lots of farms are closing; There is dissatisfaction at the farm level.
Friends of Journalists, As soon as the export of soybean mills from Bangladesh to Nepal and India started, we appealed to the concerned agencies including the Ministry of Commerce, Fisheries and Livestock, Agriculture and Food to stop the export of soybean mills immediately. The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Food has sent a letter to the Ministry of Commerce with a clear view to stop the export of soybean mills. Not only that, the Department of Agricultural Extension has ordered the closure of the soybean mill but it has been withdrawn again due to the intervention of the Ministry of Commerce.
Despite the fact that trade is open, many countries discourage imports by imposing various taxes and duties on various imported goods in the interest of their own country and the protection of domestic industries. Even many times the export stops. Exports of rice, onions and other commodities were stopped in India due to internal crisis and rising prices; However, by opening up exports in the interest of the industry of other countries, our Ministry of Commerce is practically pushing the domestic egg, milk, fish, meat and feed producers to the brink of destruction.
Dear journalist friends, I would like to inform you that the prices of feed making materials have gone up dramatically in recent years.
The price of raw materials has increased by 34.22 percent during the period from August 2020 to August 2021. If the price of raw material goes up by 30-35 per cent, the price of feed will go up by 20-25 per cent as per normal norms, but considering the farmers, the feed manufacturers have increased the price of feed by only 7-8 per cent. As a result, all the feed manufacturers in the country are facing losses; Several small and medium feed mills have come to the brink of closure. In this case, irreparable damage will be done if the decision is not taken to close the soybean mill at the earliest. Prices of eggs, milk, fish, chicken, beef and goat will increase further. The health and nutrition of 160 million people in the country and the lives and livelihoods of about 20 million people directly and indirectly involved in the poultry, dairy and fisheries sectors will become uncertain; Domestic poultry, fisheries and dairy sector will fall on deaf ears.
Friends of the journalist, our sector is suffering not only because of the decision to export soybean mills but also because of a few other decisions. I am briefly presenting 3 issues in front of you.
(1) “Obligation to wrap fish and animal feed in jute sacks”
Ministry of Textiles and Jute SRO No. 247-Act / 2018, Date: 2 August 2018, The use of jute bags in poultry and fish food packaging has been made mandatory. The Feed Industries Association of Bangladesh (FIAB) has repeatedly objected to this. We have said that fish and animal feed are wasted in the shortest time when they come in contact with water vapor. That is why in all the countries of the world, fish and animal feed are wrapped in PP oven bags. The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has also requested to take necessary steps to amend the notification of compulsory use of jute wrappers but no solution has been found.
(2) Standard certificate of BSTI
Previously, there was no obligation to obtain a BSTI standard certificate for the fish and animal feed manufacturing industry. According to the SRO No. 220-Act / 2018 dated 04 July / 2016 of the Ministry of Industries, these two products have been made obligated to get the standard certificate of BSTI. Legal experts say it is not legal for an industry to have two different regulatory authorities or dual administrative control, so the issue needs to be addressed quickly.
(3) Compulsory lab test of imported goods
There are also complications with the mandatory lab tests of imported products. There are many products that do not require any lab tests. We have sent the list of such products to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock but there is no profit. On the one hand, a lot of time is being spent on unloading such products; On the other hand, useless money is increasing. Moreover, a large amount of foreign currency is going abroad due to dematerialization.
Expectations from the media
We hope that all kinds of media including newspapers, online, TV, radio from all over the country including Dhaka will come forward to help us. Our media has taken many important issues on the agenda in the past for national needs. I also call upon the media to take up the issue of stopping soybean mill exports as an agenda. At the same time, I humbly request the journalist friends to present our demands logically. You have stood by us in times of crisis. Hopefully you will come forward with our help again.
We have been in a crisis for a long time. Medical scientists in the country are currently advising to consume more fish, meat, milk and eggs. We are cooperating with the government to meet the protein needs of the people of the country by keeping this industry alive with the farmers. At present the purchasing power of the common man has declined as employment has shrunk. In this situation, if the price of affordable animal meat increases, both ‘food and nutrition security’ will be threatened.
We will continue to do our best and wish you all the best. We demand immediate stoppage of soybean mill exports. If our reasonable and acceptable demands are not met, we will take up a larger program in the future with the help of farmers, entrepreneurs and all concerned sectors.
Organized by: Feed Industries Association Bangladesh(FIAB)