December 16, 2008
Bangladesh seeks stronger shrimp industry on global financial woes
The Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) has called on the government to step up measures to sustain the country's frozen shrimp exports as prices and demand for shrimp declines due to the global financial downturn.
BFFEA leaders expect yet another shortfall in shrimp export earnings this fiscal year, much larger than the last period.
A BFFEA source said the frozen shrimp export fetched around US$534.07 million against the US$600 million target from 2007 to 2008.
The EU, USA and Japan are the three main markets of Bangladesh's frozen shrimp, with the EU alone accounting for around 48 percent of the total exports. All the three destinations are now suffering acutely from the global financial crisis.
BFFEA executive director, M. Abul Bashar said the price of shrimp has dropped US$1 to US$1.5 per pound over the year on the international market.
Bashar said in the last fiscal year, the price of 16 to 30 grade shrimp, which accounts for around 65 to 80 percent of the total frozen shrimp export, ranged between US$5.20 and US$5.50, but has come down to as low as US$4 now, marking a 30 to 32 percent decline.
He also said the price situation has resulted in huge stockpiles of shrimp at buyers and the exporters' level.
He said the price slide has also affected the shrimp farmers by reducing the gap between their production cost and sales price.
The BFFEA already has urged the government to establish an emergency fund for the frozen food exporters to protect them from liquidity crisis, said another leader of the association.
The association also has requested the government to provide 10 percent cash incentive to shrimp exporters on the exact export price, removing the price ceiling.