A driving force for the poultry sector growth in Bangladesh
When BRAC's Chicken enterprise became a key local supplier of KFC – one of the world's most popular chicken fast food chains which has more than 11,000 restaurants in over 80 countries; it represented a significant accomplishment for what had started as a grassroots experiment in the 1970s to create income generating opportunities for the poor and improve the poultry sector in Bangladesh. Today BRAC's poultry operations include poultry farms that produce high-yield varieties of day-old chicks, commercial broiler farms that produce adult chickens, a broiler processing plant and a poultry disease diagnostics laboratory.
BRAC Chicken was established to meet the growing demand for ready-to-cook chicken in urban areas. Initially a pioneer of the packaged poultry meat market, BRAC Chicken is now one of major players in the processed meat market. BRAC Chicken also strives to create a market for poultry that provides farmers with a fair price. It started out as a broiler processing enterprise in 2004, with the capacity to process approximately 10,000 chickens per day and was the only automated plant of its kind in Bangladesh. BRAC Chicken has also released a variety of processed chicken products, including chicken nuggets and chicken wings.
Given that the demand for poultry meat and eggs in Bangladesh still exceeds the supply, BRAC's poultry operations continue to be an important means of supporting rural farmers in their production, while also driving sector growth by increasing the supply of high-yield variety chicks and processed broiler meat.
Cross-collaboration to serve across rural and urban communities
A highly integrated enterprise that cross-collaborates with a number of other BRAC enterprises, BRAC Chicken acquires 30-40 percent of its supply from BRAC's commercial broiler farms while the remaining supply comes from other independent farms, both rural and commercial. BRAC Chicken sells the pre-prepared meat to a variety of customers including large restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and even individual households. Some of its major vendors include KFC, Westin Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Best Fried Chicken, and BBQ Bangladesh.
BRAC Poultry Rearing Farms purchase day-old chicks from BRAC Poultry. Instead of then directly selling these day-old chicks to individual farmers, BRAC Poultry sells them to dealers who in turn resell the chicks to farmers who rear the chickens, creating a more cost-effective supply model. BRAC's poultry farms use feed from BRAC Feed Mills. The collaboration among the enterprises, namely BRAC Chicken, BRAC Poultry Rearing Farms, BRAC Poultry and BRAC Feed Mills, creates a value-addition chain which allows BRAC Chicken to sell a high quality processed chicken product at a fair price.
Systematic preventive approach to ensure food safety
BRAC Chicken manages the quality of its chicken along each step of the supply chain: BRAC trains chicken rearers on how to vaccinate their chickens and raise them hygienically, and hires veterinarians to handle more complex health issues. The poultry is always under regular supervision of the vets, particularly during the use of vaccines, medicine, antibiotics, etc. If the chickens are injected with approved antibiotics, a time period of at least 72 hours is given to allow the chemicals to leave their system before processing them. At the end of the processing chain, BRAC Chicken sells high quality chicken, achieving HACCP ('Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point'; a systematic approach to ensuring food safety) certification. In the process, BRAC Chicken also tries to minimise any production activities that may harm the environment.
With consumers increasingly demanding healthy and convenient food options, BRAC Chicken plans to expand its chicken processing operation and introduce more variety in its product line. As the increased demand for poultry meat has spurred an increase in demand for day-old chicks, BRAC Poultry has scaled up its production to ensure sufficient supply to BRAC Chicken. BRAC’s poultry rearing farms also plan to increase their capacity to serve this growing demand.