Proper policy support needed to boost export income
Rudro Rasel: Bangladesh has a lot of potentiality to boost the export income through exporting quality shrimp, but the export income witnessed a negative growth for lack of adequate policy support.
In the first five months (July to November) of the ongoing fiscal 2020-21, country gained $163.01 million while such income was $178.67 million during the corresponding period of the last fiscal 2019-20. Riding on the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, it may be said that the shrimp export declined by 8.76 percent.
Actually, Shrimps of Bangladesh has gained an international reputation by higher demands. Unfortunately, the increase for export has not progressed in quantity as the shrimp farming faced a lot of complications, said Ashraf Hossain Masud, Senior Vice President, Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA).
The cheap price of Vannamei shrimps that the competing country produces is one of the main causes for the country to suffer loss. Though there is a rise in the export cost of shrimps but exporters are struggling with many internal issues. One of them is the scarcity of ammonia gas that is a necessity to run frozen fish factories. As cylinder prices of 50 kilograms ammonia gas more than doubled from Taka 6,000 in recent years.
The local customers for shrimp are increasing the demand and also the market can ask for a higher price the price than the global market. Regards to the rising income and purchasing capacity of people, the demand for local shrimp has increased in the local market.
“If government can manage the banks to give farmers loans that are on relaxed terms, it would be very helpful for them to do the business in the local market as well as face the international market”, he added. Due to Brexit, Bangladesh shrimp export market has encountered huge conflicts in Britain market. Hoping that the Brexit issues will smooth out soon and in turn resolve the British market situation as Britain is a large market for the domestic shrimp, said the industry insiders.
The price of Vannamei is US$ 2 to $ 2.5 which is much lower than the black tiger shrimp in the global market. The prices have declined to 6 USD to 8 USD per for the Bagda and Galda shrimp as Vannamei shrimps demand increased.
Bangladesh Frozen Food Export Association (BFFEA) is trying to convince the government to raise the subsidies more than the 10 percent for the farmers.
Bangladesh has a huge infrastructural space. It has taken a shocking position considering access to infrastructure in the South Asia and the situation is going from bad to worse day by day. Within the worse infrastructural situation, communication specifically the total road networking infrastructure, port, electricity is the main problem, they mentioned.
Despite of being a potentially successful country for shrimp export, Bangladesh has no foreign investors to invest in shrimp industry. As Bangladesh has huge human resource and they can be employed by poor labor cost, foreign investors may attract to invest in the country.
In this connection, the government should be more active in finding foreign funding to attain win-win situation.
Building trendy fisheries with modern technological support for processing plants will also make this industry practice better. Supports from government and non-governmental industries should help with the modern setup, expert said. Two thousand species of the real shrimp are identified in the world. Country’s shrimp industry has a great potentiality for a better boost in the economy. The competition in his sector is increasing in the world market. The progress of shrimp production in Bangladesh is not noteworthy even though there is an increase in the demand and high possibilities in the world market. Amongst the various items of frozen foods, only shrimp item contribute about 90 percent of the whole earnings from the fish export sector of Bangladesh. Even with the positive contributions, the shrimp industry is not beyond the criticisms- legal and social including labor issues, environmental sustainability, and food safety explicitly farmer use unpreserved and hazardous chemical highly risk for human health.
Experts have underscored the need for ensuring joint of initiative of public and private institutes to support the farmers by providing flexible loans, better organizations, healthy fry and standard food for harvesting.
To investigate on the shrimp culture to find out the lacking and problems associated with it and also to provide strategies and precautions for progress and to make the stakeholders more attentive in order to save this sector from criticism and make it more balanced, they opined.