- Annual demand for Fayoumi chicks in Jashore is more than 36 lakh
- The farm can produce only two lakh chicks a year
- Around 1.25 lakh chicks are kept in farms around Satkhira, Chuadanga, and Jashore for rearing
- The remaining 75,000 are sold
- Production cost each chick Tk22
- The chicks are sold at a subsidised price of Tk12
Some 62 years ago in 1959, Governmental Poultry Breeding and Development Farm was set up on 27 bighas of land in Jashore's Shankarpur Union.
The aim was to alleviate poverty and meet the meat demand for the people living in the area by producing chicken of the Fayoumi breed.
The chicks of this particular breed are ideal for humid weather and are generally healthy.
The demand for Fayoumi chicks in Jashore is more than 36 lakh per year but the farm can produce only two lakh chicks a year.
"We can only meet about 3.14% of the demand with the current production," said the Deputy Director of the farm Agriculturist Shafiqur Rahman.
Among the two lakh chicks, around 1.25 lakh are kept in farms around Satkhira, Chuadanga, and Jashore for rearing and the remaining 75,000 are sold, Rahman added.
The farm has been struggling for a long time due to an acute shortage of manpower and has never seen profit. Even though the farm requires 28 workers to run it smoothly, currently, there are only seven workers.
To produce each chick of the Fayoumi breed, it costs Tk22 but as per the government subsidised price, the chicks are sold at Tk12.
According to Deputy Director Rahman, the farm is spending Tk1 crore each year for production but earning only about Tk70 lakh.
However, the farm officials say that they asked for Tk27 crore from the government and the money could help the farm to turn things around.
"We have the equipment and infrastructural facility to produce at least 40.32 lakh chicken and with adequate manpower and allocation, we can produce chicken as per our capacity," said Rahman.
During a visit to the farm recently, this correspondent noticed that 14 of the 22 sheds where hens and roosters are reared are unusable. Due to the roof and floor being too low, it is hard to control the temperature and humidity inside the sheds.
The eight sheds where hens and roosters are being reared are not constructed scientifically either. Out of the six incubators where the eggs are hatched, one was out of order.
As per the farm sources, from June 2020 to August 2021, some 89 entrepreneurs applied for around 5.63 lakh chicks but as the production on the farm is low, the demand could not be met. Currently, new applications are closed.
Many entrepreneurs complain that most of the chicks produced on the farm end up in the black market.
Abidur Rahman, an entrepreneur from Jashore's Jhikargachha, said, "I applied for Fayoumi chickens last year but did not get them yet. Even if the government-subsidised price is Tk12, I have to purchase chicks spending Tk22-Tk24."