June 2, 2004

 

 

Bangladesh Shrimp Export To See Five-fold Increase By 2008
 

Shrimp export could fetch Tk 10,000 crore annually, a five-fold rise from Tk 2,000 crore at present, by 2008 if the government takes certain supportive measures, speakers told a national dialogue in Dhaka yesterday.

 

They suggested measures such as allocation of one lakh hectares of new land for shrimp farming, pumping in fresh investment in this sector, quality control in shrimp production and compliance of international rules.

 

IUCN, the World Conservation Union, organised the dialogue on 'Standard-Compliant Production and Procession Options for Sustainable Shrimp Sector in Bangladesh' at its office at the IDB Bhaban.

 

The discussants called for quality control to help sustain the country's second largest source of foreign exchange after readymade garments. To this effect, they urged shrimp farmers, processors and exporters to adopt WTO-prescribed sanitary rules.

 

Speaking at the dialogue, Commerce Minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury said the government would provide all out support for frozen food sector.

 

"Money is no problem," he assured the shrimp industry stakeholders, saying "If you can find ways how the country could earn more foreign exchange, the government is ready to give you financial and other necessary supports."

 

Mahmudul Hossain, secretary general of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) in his presentation on shrimp industry said shrimp export could fetch Tk 10,000 crore annually by 2008 if the government extends necessary supports.

 

The commerce minister and other discussants agreed with the comment.

 

Ainun Nishat, country representative of IUCN, said shrimp industry people need to understand the standardisation process and increase interaction among the stakeholders for a socially responsible and environmentally sound shrimp industry.

 

Professor AK Enamul Haque of North South University in his keynote paper stressed the need for a social and corporate responsibility and recommended policy actions for environmental and social sustainability of the industry.

 

Quazi Monirul Hauque, president of BFFEA emphasised building up a monitoring mechanism for ensuring transparency at the farm level and at the supply chain.

 

Aftabuzzaman, president of National Shrimp Farmers' Association, however said without the help from the higher level, it will not be possible to comply with the stringent international standards and increase access in the international market.