Monday, 28 November, 2022

Vannamei shrimp can boost export earnings

Says BFFEA President Humayun Kabir

Khulna: Shrimp once held the second spot in top export goods from Bangladesh but in the last few years it failed to hold up against the growing competition and fell down to seventh, reports UNB.

Traders and exporters involved in frozen shrimp export have been demanding approval of commercial production of Vannamei Shrimps in Bangladesh instead of Freshwater Prawns (Golda Shrimp) and Tiger Prawns (Bagda) as its export to European and American markets can bring back the golden days of shrimp export.

Fourteen of the 15 countries that cultivate shrimps in Asia and exports to Europe, USA and other large importers have already been commercially producing Vannamei Shrimp and exporting it while Bangladesh lags far behind, SM Humayun Kabir President of Bangladesh Frozen food Exporters Association told UNB.

Country’s export figure of shrimp from Fiscal Year 2013-14 to 2020-21 shows a steady decline.

In FY 2013-14 Bangladesh earned USD550 million by exporting shrimp, in FY 2017-18 it came down to USD 409 million and finally in

FY 2020-21 it came down to 329 USD million, according to the data of Fisheries Department and Export Promotion Bureau.

Currently there are 105 approved frozen food processing factories in Bangladesh but only 60 of them are operating due to the struggle for shortage of raw materials.

In Bangladesh, 2, 58,000 hectares of land are used for shrimp farming where 300 to 400 kg of Golda and Bagda shrimps  per hectare are produced in 160 days.

But as the Golda and Bagda shrimps cannot be produced in any land more than twice a year the production cost of these shrimps becomes very high.

Comparatively high yielding Vannamei Shrimp, with low production cost and easy availability has been dominating the global market while Bangladesh’s shrimp industry suffers.

Recently, the Fisheries Department has given conditional approval to conduct two pilot projects for harvesting Vannamei Shrimp in 10 acres of land.

According to project result, in just 110 days 10 to 15 MT of Vannamei shrimp can be produced from per hectares of land which is quite high compared to 300-400 Kg of Bagda and Golda shrimp production in 160 days, said Prafulla Kumar Roy, owner Jagannath Balaram Subhadra hatchery contracted for the pilot project.

Vannamei Shrimp can also be produced thrice in the same land in one year, he said.

Shyamal Kumar Das, another owner of hatchery under the project said if the experimental initiative taken by the Fisheries Department to commercialise Vannamei shrimp production is implemented, it will be possible to produce four to six lakh MTs of shrimp like Bangladesh and India within the next five years.

President of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) SM Humayun Kabir said, commercial production and export of Vanami shrimp can earn 3 to 4 billion US dollars revenue and it will help Bangladesh regain its position in the global shrimp market.

Khodeza Begum, a housewife who came to Gallamari market of Khulna to buy shrimp said Vanamei shrimps are cheap and delicious. Rabiul Sheikh, a fish seller said that the demand for this shrimp was low in the beginning, but it is increasing day by day.

Prasenjit, who looks after Vannamei shrimp farming pilot project, said that harvesting of this shrimp does not have any adverse impact on nature rather vegetables can be cultivated around the shrimp enclosure.

According to the pilot project data, 77 percent of the world’s shrimp market is occupied by Vannamei Shrimp. As production of this fish isn’t widespread in Bangladesh, the country has to compete for 23 percent of market share through exporting Freshwater Prawn (Golda Shrimp) and Tiger Prawn (Bagda) shrimp.