The growing popularity of Sonali chicken and turkey is dragging down the demand for commercial broiler breed poultry.
According to data by the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council, the demand for broiler chicken dropped from 80 percent in 2018 to 55 percent till July this year.
Sonali chicken, turkey and duck grabbed 25 percent of the market share lost by the broiler breed.
In 2018, all three of these breeds held 20 percent of the total poultry market share, which leapt to 45 percent as of July 2019.
Poultry farmers said people who do not like the taste and meat quality of broiler chicken, shift to Sonali chicken, turkey and duck varieties as white meat alternatives.
Since the alternatives can be bought at almost the same prices, this is slashing the demand for broiler chicken.
Poultry sector people said this while addressing a roundtable dialogue titled "Progress to Safe Poultry Farming and the Role of Media," held at Krishibid Institution auditorium in Dhaka on Friday.
The Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council organised the event.
The participants said, although Sonali and other chicken breeds are a bit pricier, consumers believe those have a huge difference in taste with broiler chicken. Moreover, people started discarding broiler chicken from the menu owing to several speculations over farming and meat quality.
A presentation at the programme claimed some flawed researches triggered these speculations. Participants claimed both broiler chicken and their feed are being manufactured in a safe and healthy environment.
Dr Nathu Ram Sarker, director general of the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, said, "People across the globe are leaning towards white meat. We must focus on safe production to meet the local and international demands."
Another presentation, titled "A Journey Towards Safe Poultry Production," claimed that Sonali and other fowl breeds are yet to meet the high safety standard maintained by broiler farming.
"Farming of these breeds involves the usage of antibiotics as the government is less vigilant about the new sector," claimed the presentation.
Former Dhaka University teacher Prof Golam Rahman said, "People have mixed feelings about the poultry industry. Negative news often terrify us. Flawed research with questionable methodologies are responsible for it."
He suggested journalists to be more careful while running reports on the poultry sector.
Nutritionists and university teachers echoed Prof Golam Rahman. They said that research also should be conducted on the farming of Sonali and other varieties as those are gaining popularity very fast.