Though the global demand for shrimp is continuing to rise, Bangladesh is losing the market due to the inability of producing cheap and high-yielding Vannamei shrimp.
Bangladeshi farmers are still dependent on expensive black-tiger species while neighbouring countries produce shrimp variety that grabbed major global markets.
Exporters lost market shares in the competition with the neighbouring countries as the government did not allow shrimp producers to farm Vannamei shrimp in Bangladesh.
Local farmers rely on the farming of the more expensive black tiger species -- far from ideal in a difficult economic climate across the world.
According to sources, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and China have been farming Vannamei for 15 years.
The countries are fulfilling the international demand for Vannamei from the USA, Europe, Russia, China Africa, Japan, Australia and some Middle Eastern countries and grabbing the global Vannamei demand of over $70 billion annually.
It has been unfortunate that Vannemei farming has not been happening in Bangladesh despite having huge demands, Sector insiders said.
Exporters blamed the bureaucratic slow process and proper promotion and said that now the government is mulling over allowing Vannamei farming in Bangladesh on a pilot basis.
The market for black tiger shrimp that Bangladesh produces most has been declining for the last 10 years due to the emergence of a new type of species Vannamei which has taken over the shrimp’s world market.
The country exports of black tiger and freshwater shrimps in 2012 was $590million, but in 2019 this was down to $365 million and 85 percent of factories are either closed or have stopped production and with huge bank debts.
Shrimp and frozen food exporters urged the government to follow the footsteps of its neighbouring countries, encourage shrimp farmers and promoting Vannamei farming in Bangladesh.
They said it is sustainable especially in the rural parts of Bangladesh for job creation as well as for earning foreign currency for the government.
Bangladesh earned only $297 million through exporting shrimps during the 10 months of the current fiscal.
Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) has long been demanding the government should allow vannamei farming to cater the global market and sustain trade with the aid of higher demand.
The farming of vannamei will enable frozen food exporters to get raw materials in higher quantity, utilise their unused processing capacity and compete in the world market, according to them.
BFFEA president Kazi Belayet Hossain told Banglanews that the pond was made for vannamei shrimp farming. Permission has to be taken from the government for every step. The government has a committee to give the permission. The members of that committee cannot sit for a meeting within three months. I asked for permission to bring the fry 6 months ago. We have got no permission yet. Vannamei shrimp is occupying the world market. Many countries are earning huge amount of money by producing and exporting the variety. And we haven't started yet.
Khulna District Fisheries officer Abu Sayeed told Banglanews that the government had taken steps to help produce white Vannamei shrimp. Three ponds were also managed at Paikgachha in Khulna to test its feasibility. The government gave this responsibility to Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association that has been demanding it for a long time. So, they were permitted. The Fisheries office also stepped in to help them, but the Vannamei Farming project did not move forward because the association did not move forward.
BDST: 0915 HRS, JUN 09, 2020