FAO in Bangladesh

World Milk Day – calls to boost production and consumption


Dhaka, Bangladesh – FAO joined the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock today to celebrate World Milk Day 2022.

FAO established World Milk Day in 2001 to recognize the importance of milk as a global food, and to celebrate the dairy sector. Every year since, the benefits of milk and dairy products have been promoted around the world. This year, Bangladesh was one of more than 100 countries participating.
Globally, dairy supports the livelihoods of one billion people. With more than 80 percent of the milk produced in developing countries coming from small-scale dairy producers, dairying improves food security and represents a source of employment and income to millions of smallholder families.
FAO is committed to supporting the government to strengthen the dairy sector in Bangladesh. In particular, FAO is providing technical assistance through the Livestock and Dairy Development Project of the Department of Livestock Services. The project, which is funded by the World Bank, aims to address the barriers that undermine growth of the livestock sector and thereby improve productivity, market access, and resilience for smallholder livestock producers and processors.
Speaking at the event, which was held at the Krishibid Institution auditorium, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, SM Rezaul Karim, called for the private sector to help increase production. FAO Representative in Bangladesh, Robert D. Simpson, stressed the importance of trying to increase consumption for the benefit of farmers and nutrition security. The programme was presided over by Livestock Division Director General Dr. Manzoor Mohammad Shahzada. Christian Berger, Senior Agriculture Specialist with the World Bank, was the guest of honour.
“Governments are often primarily concerned with increasing production of agricultural produce. But it’s just as important to consider the demand side, in other words, how do we increase consumption? How do we encourage millions of Bangladeshis to drink milk and consume more milk products, such as curds, yogurt, and cheese?
“If there are more quality and affordable products available, then consumers will have more choice. On the other side, strong consumer demand will incentivize dairy farmers to produce more milk and these consumers will come to expect and demand high quality, safe milk that they can trust.”
In Bangladesh, milk is typically only drunk by younger children, the elderly, and those who are unwell. In other words, it is seen as a health drink, not one for adults. Clearly, then people know that milk is nutritious, so this is not a barrier. Neither is safety. Bangladeshis believe milk is safe to drink. Affordability, however, can be an issue. Milk is relatively expensive for the rural and urban poor.
Many poor people are unable to afford a better diet and greater efforts, including agricultural growth, diversification and public investment, are needed to ensure that poor and undernourished people can access food that is safe, affordable, and nutritious. The government’s commendable achievements in reducing poverty will mean that over time more and more Bangladeshis will be able to afford dairy products. The government can help build infrastructure, run communication campaigns, and provide quality assurance.
Producer and apex organizations will play an important part not only in raising the quality of production but also in promotion and marketing. The private sector will provide the link from farm to shop.
Organizations such as FAO can provide technical support along their entire chain, from production to marketing, supporting dairy producers, coordination with the private sector, and government.