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In 1983-84, less than 1% of cattle in Bangladesh were of improved variety in spite of the fact that efforts to improve cattle through cross-breeding and grading were started by the British in the middle of the previous century. This paper analyses the research and policy shortcomings of the cattle breeding programmes that led to this situation. A particular emphasis is on the effects of use of cows for draft purposes as empirical evidence shows that draft use of cows have negative effects on milk yield and fertility. The argument is supported by field data based on a sample of farm cattle from several districts.


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