A paradigm shift is sweeping through the poultry farming landscape as contract growers adopt advanced agricultural practices. Armed with specialised knowledge imparted by poultry experts, these growers are pioneering a culture of improved practices that prioritise the health and well-being of the birds. Through stringent adherence to biosecurity protocols, these farmers are minimising the use of antibiotics and other medications, resulting in healthier chickens and lower production costs, as revealed by on-ground assessments.
Contract farmers, guided by their trainers, are ushering in a transformative era in the poultry sector. In stark contrast to harmful practices involving excessive medication use that could potentially impact human health, these farmers are championing the cause of biosecurity. This commitment is not only elevating the quality of broiler meat but also heralding a monumental shift in the way poultry is produced, directly addressing public health concerns.
Abdullah Al-Razi, 35, has taken the initiative to establish two poultry farm units in a secluded area of Kolabaria village in Charghat upazila, Rajshahi, to ensure compliance with company-prescribed biosecurity standards. Learning from past mistakes that once led to a Tk 84,000 loss due to a knowledge gap, Al-Razi highlights the benefits of adhering to a set of guidelines under contract farming. "Upon embracing contract farming, I have been equipped with invaluable insights to maintain optimal poultry health and productivity. The results have been truly remarkable," he remarked. Al-Razi does, however, point out the challenges posed by exceedingly warm weather in the summer season, which can hamper bird growth.
Jewel Rana, a 29-year-old small trader in Puraton Bhabki Madhupur of Poba, Rajshahi, has embedded safety precautions into his farm's design. His farm, encircled by trees, exemplifies his commitment to preventing disease outbreaks. As he navigates through his 19th production cycle, Rana attests to the guidance received from company experts that has empowered him to efficiently manage his farm.
"Maintaining a farm's biosecurity prevents the ingress of external pathogens, curbing the likelihood of disease outbreaks," stressed Mahmudul Hassan Sikdar, a Professor at Bangladesh Agriculture University. He emphasised that, in most cases, excessive medication use, including antibiotics, is redundant when strict biosecurity is in place. "When biosecurity is prioritised, the overuse of antibiotics, which can potentially result in residual effects in poultry meat and human health concerns, becomes unnecessary," Sikdar elaborated.
Sikdar also cautioned against the unnecessary use of antibiotics, highlighting that overuse could lead to antibiotic resistance. This, in turn, could render antibiotics ineffective when genuinely required for treatment. He expressed optimism in the fact that contract farmers are being trained to embrace and implement robust biosecurity measures, thereby safeguarding both the industry and consumers.
Masud Rana, 34, a contract grower from Baro Dhadas village in Puthia, Rajshahi, joined contract farming a year and a half ago. Learning from the regular monitoring and guidance provided by company officers, Rana has cultivated a deep understanding of efficient poultry management. "The guidance to utilise medication judiciously, focus on physical distancing, maintain cleanliness, and uphold biosecurity practices has resulted in remarkable outcomes," he affirmed. His neighbor, Mohammad Ali, 28, running his mother Noor Banu's farm, noted a meager average death rate of two percent, attributing this success to the disciplined maintenance practiced under contract farming.
Abdullah Al-Mamun, a veterinary doctor and value chain specialist at Kazi Farms, elucidated the transformation process among self-initiated poultry farmers. He highlighted that these farmers often resort to excessive medication use to safeguard bird health and promote growth. Al-Mamun's role involves inspiring these farmers to cultivate controlled environments that obviate the need for excessive medication. He affirms that this paradigm shift is manifesting in the remarkable management improvements by trained contract growers.
The dawn of enhanced practices in contract farming is rewriting the narrative of poultry production. By fostering biosecurity and minimizing medication reliance, contract growers are championing a healthier future for both poultry and consumers.
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