May 30, 2009


Bangladesh shrimp export to US may face setback


Bangladesh's shrimp industry may face a fresh challenge in the US due to alleged unfair practices by some exporters.


Buyer sources said that several consignments in the US were found to be of mixed grade, underweight and below sized, and that the rule of ice glazing to keep shrimps chilled has been violated.


This follows after shrimp exports to the EU were halted on the detection of nitrofuran, and the damages caused by Cyclone Aila.


The sources said after detecting cases repeatedly during the past year, many USbuyers have become hesitant in importing Bangladeshi shrimps.


An average eight to 10 serious cases have been reported by the buyers, according to the Seafood Export Buying Agents Association of Bangladesh (SEBAAB).


A US buyer alleged that packers have been mixing some decomposed shrimps with the good quality ones. SEBAAB President Kamal Admed said initially it was assumed that it was an isolated case but the issue was taken seriously after they received repeated complaints from various buyers.


Admed noted that the complaints brought against the involved exporters have not led to compliance.


But a Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) executive said buyers usually raise this kind of allegation when sales drop.


The executive accused the buyers of making the complaints to avoid payment because consumer demand for shrimps has declined, and alleged that some quarters were trying to damage Bangladesh's image to destroy the country's shrimp export market.


The Director General of Department of Fisheries said they are yet to receive any complaints from the US, but an official of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries said they are aware of the complaints from the US and that many cases could not be solved due to fault in the agreements.


The official said Bangladesh's export to the US market is made on seller-buyer relationship due to lack of business chain, and the government handles the cases where remedy is possible and those issues were discussed with the US Federal Drug Administration last month.


The buyer sources warned that Bangladesh could lose its export market in the US if the matter is not taken into account immediately.