In recent years. the fisheries and livestock sector has been playing an increasingly important role in the economy uplift efforts of Bangladesh. It is a Labor Intensive and quick-yielding sector which augments growth and alleviates poverty. Around 1.3 million people are directly employed in the fisheries sector alone.
The country has immense natural potential for developing the fisheries sub-sector. The sector contributes 3.3% of the GDP and 10.33% of the agriculture sector. The sector includes open water bodies such as rivers, canals,lakes, etc. And closed water bodies such as ponds and flood-control polders totaling 4 million hecteres. Almost 80% of the country's protein requirement, around 70% of exports in the primary commodity category and almost 9% of total exports come from this sub-sector. The sub-sector marked a continuous annual growth of 8.6% since 1996. This increase is due to both Government and private initiatives. Fish production increased to over 1 .4 million during 1997-98.
The Government is providing various incentives to the sector like offerings infrastructure, credit, research and extension facilities. Different NGOs are also undertaking programs to motivate and train fishermen and thereby raise production. Hatcheries are being set up through private initiatives. Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation is providing marketing and storage facilities to the fishermen and fish traders.
With an annual growth rate of over 8% since 1993, the contribution of the livestock sub-sector to GDP and the agriculture sector as a whole is currently 3.2% and 10.11% respectively. Showing much potential to develop as a commercial sector with employment and income generating opportunities both in the rural and urban areas. A large number of enterprises-cattle, poultry and dairy farms have grown in the private sector in recent years.
Shortage of Livestock products is attributed to the prevalence of diseases, poor quality of animals and feed shortages. Under the public sector, improvement of the genetic quality of existing stock is currently carried out through establishment of breeding stations and cattle raising units and a wide network of artificial insemination services. An extensive program has been undertaken for fodder cultivation under which much improved seeds and seedlings are being distributed to the farmers, the NGOs and the private farms.