The aim of this paper is to review the current status of poultry production and its future prospects in Bangladesh, covering both rural and commercial poultry production. As an important sub-sector of livestock production, the poultry industry in Bangladesh plays a crucial role in economic growth and simultaneously creates numerous employment opportunities. The poultry industry, as a fundamental part of animal production, is committed to supplying the nation with a cheap source of good quality nutritious animal protein in terms of meat and eggs. Two main systems of poultry production are common in Bangladesh nowadays: commercial poultry production – where birds are kept in total confinement, and traditional scavenging or semi-scavenging poultry production. Approximately 20% of the protein consumed in Bangladesh originates from poultry. With the exception the dip in production due to the recent Avian Influenza outbreak, the growth of this industry in terms of standards of commercialization, is very rapid. A gap still exists between the requirement and supply of poultry meat and eggs within the recent frame-work of the informal marketing system that is currently used. Among poultry species, the chicken population is dominant over others, at almost 90%, followed by ducks (8%) and a small number of quail, pigeons and geese. Free range ‘backyard’ and scavenging poultry, that are traditionally reared by rural women and children, still play an important role in generating family income, in addition to improving the family's diet with eggs and meat. Productive and reproductive performance of indigenous birds is relatively very low (35-40 eggs and 1-1.5 kg meat per bird per year), but genetic improvements by selective breeding, along with adequate nutrition and proper management, looks promising and quite possible. Commercial poultry production in Bangladesh, is conducted on an industrial scale and is growing tremendously in spite of recent difficulties but is expected to make a significant contribution to the economic development of the country. A national poultry policy is expected to be approved by the government shortly, which, when implemented, will improve the organization of production and marketing, allowing increased stability and security of output throughout the year. In addition, efforts should be taken to ensure safety standards of poultry meat and eggs for human consumption. Experts from the government, research institutes, universities, NGOs and other relevant sectors need to work in a collaborative manner in order to allow sustainable production and fight challenges jointly when they appear from time to time. Corresponding attention to research and development will allow the poultry sector to flourish in Bangladesh. As government funding is limited, industrialists need to come forward either to establish their respective research facilities or to provide funds to universities and research institutes in order to undertake research works of national and international importance.
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