POST TIME: 23 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Snake farm awaits govt nod to collect venom

Snake farm awaits govt nod to collect venom

This recent photo shows Abdur Razzak with some snakes in his hand at Nandipara in Patuakhali. INDEPENDENT PHOTO

A snake farm has been built in Patuakhali where visitors have an exciting time as they see up close various species of venomous snakes.

However, the government has not given approval to the farm yet to collect venom.

Arabia, has set up the farm in Nandipara village, Abdur Razzaq Biswas, a Bangladeshi who used to work in Saudi under Madarbunia Union Parishad, which lies 10 km west of Patuakhali municipal town.

Razzaq told reporters that he visited some of the country’s snake farm websites on the Internet. Later, he got in touch with a snake farmer in California, USA. The American told him that the venom collected from his farm was used in life-saving drugs worth billions of dollars.

Razzaq then decided to establish a snake farm himself.

Returning from Saudi Arabia, he set up the farm with only one venomous snake and 24 eggs. Now, there are about 250 species of poisonous snakes in the farm.

Unfortunately, his snake farm is not yet registered and has not been given the permission to collect venom. “I submitted the application to the department concerned long ago, but I didn’t get any response,” said Razzaq.

“If my farm is not registered, and if I am not permitted to collect venom and use it commercially, I won’t be able to pay my farm workers,” he added. Razzaq, in fact, had to reduce the number of workers in his farm.

AK Ahad Chowdhury, dean of Environment and Disaster Management Department of Patuakhali Science and Technology University, told reporters: “If our country sets up snake farms, they will be able to export venom abroad and earn money.”

Ahad Chowdhury has urged the government to give permission to the farm to collect venom.

According to sources, Bangladesh is home to 90 species of snakes. Of them, as many as 20 species are venomous. Among them, cobra, king cobra, gokhra, daraj, loudaga, phoenmanasa, milk raj, kalnagini, ekta and Russell’s viper are the most poisonous snakes.

There were 45 snake farms in the country in 2014.

 But without the government approval, entrepreneurs cannot collect poison and export it.

Experts say if the government approves venom collection, the venom can be exported abroad through pharmaceutical firms and the government can earn crores of takas in revenue.