Integrated Dairy Research Network (IDRN) is needed for sustainable dairy development

Our Correspondent:
A workshop on “Establishment of Integrated Dairy Research Network (IDRN)” organized by the Department of Animal Nutrition was held in Animal Husbandry Faculty conference room in Bangladesh Agricultural University chaired by Prof. Dr. Khan Md. Shaiful Islam on 8th December 2018.

In that workshop all major stakeholders of the dairy chain were present along with key national experts from different university. Prof. Dr. Md. Ali Akbar, Vice chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University was present as chief guest. Prof. Dr. Jasimuddin Khan, pro-vice chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University was present as guest of honour. Dr. M.A. Matin, Director General of Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogura was present as Special guest. Prof. Dr. Md. Nurul Islam, Dean, faculty of Animal Husbandry was present as chief patron.

The key note paper was presented by Dr. Mohammad Mohi Uddin who has proposed to establish the IDRN for creating knowledge and making better understanding of the dairy in Bangladesh in a sustainable way. In that workshop about 62 participants were present covering from various agricultural universities, major processor like Milkvita, Pran, international dairy company (Arla Foods Ltd.), different NGOs, Rural Development Academy and government regulatory body, like Department of Livestock Services (DLS).

Bangladesh dairy has been transforming from traditional and subsistence to more market-oriented dairy production systems which entail to be competitive in the regional and national market. The Bangladesh has been producing 7.9 million ton milk (according to DLS 9.4 million ton) which is less than 1% of the total world milk (867 million ton). The most of the milk produced in the country is traded as informal market channel where the quality remains as a key uncertainty. The average yield of the cow per day varies from 4.2 liter to 6.6 liter of milk depending on the various sources of data.

There is no organization in Bangladesh who has data on milk price and market development. The farm gate milk price of Bangladesh was 37.2 BDT/lit (2017 -2018) which was +27.1% higher than the global milk price. Even with high price, Bangladesh dairy farmers still perceive milk price as low. But ensuring high milk price is not only the solution. The profit margin is the key indicator for making the dairy farms sustainable.

Looking into the data sources and comparative analysis, Bangladesh is far behind to make such analysis. To respond the current need of the dairy sector, a group of researchers named “Integrated Dairy Research Network (IDRN)” team have taken initiatives to create the most up-to-date dairy knowledge on dairy farming management to solve the real industry needs.

The keynote paper presented by Dr. Mohamamd Mohi Uddin, who is also acting as Network coordinator tried to identify some solutions to improve farm management and dairy sector monitoring. This was possible through regular data collection at farm level, validation with panel member to make the data and results more authentic. Any kind of business strategic decision would require information based on authentic analytical data. The speaker clearly showed where the inconsistencies lies in the data are and how those data gap can be minimized.

The keynote presentation also provides an outlook for 2030 during which time Bangladesh would produce additionally 6 million ton of milk. At the same time period 19 million more consumers will demand for 4.75 million ton additional milk.

Prof. Dr. M. Ali Akbar who was the chief guest of the workshop mentioned “I am not saying because I am here but Integrated Dairy Research Network is really needed”,. All other participants were in a line that Bangladesh dairy sector is moving faster but the quality milk in affordable price is still remains as a major concern. The ways how to increase the consumption of the liquid milk at home and workplace was discussed. The IDRN network can take lead to make the dairy sector viable through creating dairy knowledge. This initiative, however, need to be supported by strong collaboration with DLS, processors and other relevant organizations.

Finally the IDRN coordinator and the keynote speaker Dr. Mohammad Mohi Uddin urges to extend the cooperation from the stakeholders in the dairy value chain to institutionalize the research team to establish IDRN as Network which could take lead in the dairy knowledge sharing platform

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