March 14, 2013


Bangladesh's shrimp exporters eye South African countries


Shrimp exporters in Bangladesh are targeting South African countries which have long been untapped with a view to fortifying their footprints there to reduce dependency on traditional markets.


The frozen fish export is severely hit hard in recent times mainly because of the on-going global recession in the major destinations of EU and the US.


South Africa can become a lucrative destination for Bangladesh's frozen fish as export of products to that country has already started, exporters said.


Bangladesh exported 424 tonnes of white fish and 57 tonnes of shrimp there, according to Bangladesh Frozen Fish Exporters Association (BFFEA).


Shipment of frozen fish, which is the country's third largest foreign currency earner with US$598.42 million earning in the last fiscal year, is concentrated on traditional markets mainly in the EU and USA.


Export to the USA decreased to 10% from 30% in couple of years back. The country fetched about US$50 million in last fiscal gradually declining from US$170 million in 2006-07 fiscal.


The sector has been continuously witnessing a negative growth from July 2011-March 2012 to July 2012-February 2013 fiscal which exporters attributed to the failure of launching vannamei species and a fall in price of local shrimp.

"To diversify the country's export destinations and explore new markets, we need to look beyond the traditional export markets in Europe and the USA," Managing Director of Amam Sea Food Industries Ltd S Humayun Kabir said.


Bangladesh can easily export its products to African countries as the quality of its products is high and it is tasty compared to that of competitor countries, he added.


To popularise Bangladeshi products and to grab the huge market, we can display our products in the trade fairs organised by those countries," he said adding single-country fair can also boost the export of Bangladeshi products as it can pave the way for the businessmen in those countries to know about the quality of Bangladeshi products.


They prefer Bangladeshi fish due to its taste compared to that of Thailand, Vietnam and Indian fish, a BFFEA official said stressing on government's assistance to explore the new market.


"South Africa could be a potential market for the local frozen fish due to the quality and taste of our products," Vice Chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Shubhashish Bose said.


The local African people also show their interest for Bangladeshi quality and tasty products as their affordability is gradually increasing, he said.


Now we need to take some aggressive market promotion steps for campaigning of the local quality products, he said adding "We also need to assess the Africans' demand what kind of products they prefer either in raw form or value added products."


A meeting was held in EPB on Tuesday (Mar 12) on exploration of new markets especially in South African countries where a delegation from that country was also present with local stakeholders.