In order to boost production, Bangladesh's Commerce Ministry received a positive response from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in allowing import of mother shrimp namely "specific pathogen free (SPF) brood-stock of shrimp".
Earlier, the ministry at a meeting decided to allow import of mother shrimp but was waiting to get consents from the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery and the NBR. The Fisheries Ministry is yet to respond.
In addition, the commerce ministry wants to make some amendments to the import policy provided the fisheries ministry does not object.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau data, the frozen foods export made a record fall of 9% to US$544 million in the last fiscal as the production of shrimp decreased. Sources said the production was hampered due to outbreak of disease in prawns, the major frozen food item of Bangladesh for export. In the previous fiscal, the export was over US$598 million, the data showed.
"Import policy should be amended immediately to make the country's shrimp industry competitive on the global market," said Md Amin Ullah, President of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA).
He said the global economic recession was one of the reasons behind the fall of frozen foods export. "The government needs to amend the import policy in order to allow import of mother shrimp or black tiger to revive the sector," Amin Ullah added.
He suggested application of semi-intensive methodology to increase production capacity.
SPF means the absence of targeted viral, bacterial and protozoan pathogens from shrimps. SPF shrimps will help increase the production. Bangladesh will have to depend on import to get supply of SPF mother shrimps.
Currently, the local shrimp cultivators use brood stock collected from the sea, but those shrimps are prone to catch-white spot diseases by the time they reach the shrimp farms.