Jasim Uddin, a dairy farm owner, sells over 100 litres of milk daily in Chattogram. He usually makes a modest profit, but recently he has been suffering huge losses as the price of cattle feed has risen sharply in the last 15 days.
“I am on the verge of shutting down my farm as the cost of milk production has exceeded its selling price,” Jasim told The Business Standard on Tuesday.
Feed traders said many of their raw material shipments had been cancelled since the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of last month.
Besides, the prices of cattle feed’s key ingredients – maize and soybean meal, which are mainly sourced from the two warring countries – rose on the international market while freight rates also increased. All these resulted in a price hike in the local market.
However, many farmers termed these excuses “irrational,” and alleged that traders were raising the price arbitrarily.
Omar Babu, general secretary of Chattogram Dairy Farm Association, told TBS, “Farmers are in dire straits due to the rising prices of animal feed. If this situation continues, many farmers will have no option but to close down their farms.”
“In just 15 days, the price of cattle feed has increased by Tk150-200 per 50 kg sack. The farm suffered losses for more than a year amid the pandemic. My business has been doing well since the Eid-ul-Azha last year, but the sharp rise in animal feed prices has created a new crisis,” said Rakibul Alam Chowdhury, owner of Uni Agro Farm in Chattogram and also the vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Harunur Rashid, an animal feed wholesaler in Chattogram, said its price at the wholesale market has gone up as millers increased the prices, saying that their production cost has increased.
Md Mohammad Shahjalal, senior manager at Agrotech Poultry and Animal Food, said that even a year ago, the shipping charge was only $500 per tonne, but currently it has tripled. Consequently, transportation costs have exceeded the prices of imported products in many cases, and drove up animal feed prices.
Traders in the country’s largest wholesale hub Chaktai-Khatunganj said the prices of fine bran has increased from Tk1,400 to Tk1,560 per 50 kg sack in the last couple of weeks.
Besides, prices of pulses husk have jumped by Tk140 to reach Tk1,440, gram husk by Tk200 to reach Tk1,600, ground maize by Tk135 to reach Tk1,675, mustard cake by Tk150 to reach Tk2,480, ground wheat by Tk50 to reach Tk1,550, salt by Tk200 to reach Tk1,000, jaggery by Tk250 to reach Tk1,050, soybean by Tk500 to reach Tk2,800, DCP feed by Tk50 to reach Tk650, and DB plus feed by Tk250 to reach Tk3,250 per 50 kg sack.