Commercial sheep farming on the cards

DHAKA, Feb 2, 2017 (BSS) - The government has planned to introduce commercial sheep farming to explore the vast opportunity of developing a wool-based textile industry and produce more meat and milk, which will also help meet the country's nutrition demand.

The plan was mooted at an inter-ministerial meeting on the findings of a research work on development of blended yarn and fabrics from jute, cotton and native sheep wool, held at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock here today.

"We should develop commercial sheep rearing, which can help meet the nutrition demand besides providing valuable wool for expediting the huge opportunity of developing wool-based textile," Fisheries and Livestock Minister Mohammad Sayedul Haq said while presiding over the meeting.

The meeting discussed the findings of the research, carried out between 2007 and 2011 by the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) under the project for conservation and improvement of native sheep through community and commercial farming.

M Habibur Rahman, director of the project, told the meeting that the scientists of DLS and the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) have developed and produced different types of woolen fabrics and bed-sheet and suiting by using 30 percent sheep wool, 30 percent jute and 40 percent cotton.

"Demand of these products is huge in local market that could be met by farming of sheep commercially," Rahman said.

Currently, the country is producing 3,000 tonnes of wool from 34 lakh sheep that are being used to make blanket, shawl, bed-sheet and some other winter clothing in a small scale.

The meeting observed that the amount of wool would increase significantly if commercial sheep farming is introduced in a planned way.

Official data provided at the meeting showed that the number of sheep in the country is now only 34 lakh while the intake of wool from each of the sheep is 700-900 grams, a low amount compared to other wool producing countries.

The minister and the participants of the meeting observed that the number of sheep could be increased manifold, rearing sheep commercially when the wool intake from each sheep could also be steered to 1200 grams and more.

Referring to Taka 200 crore microcredit at 5.0 percent rate of interest for encouraging dairy farming, the meeting observed that sheep farming should also be given similar funding support.

State Minister for Textile and Jute Mirza Azam, Textile and Jute Secretary Shubashish Basu, Livestock and Fisheries Secretary Maksudul Hasan Khan, among others, were present at the meeting.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)