October 28, 2008
The USAID-funded Price (Poverty Reduction by Increasing the Competitiveness of Enterprises) project and the Worldfish Center have announced an immediate initiative to increase shrimp farm yields for the benefit of the entire shrimp sector.
Under a subcontract with Price, the Centre would implement the GHERS (Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp) initiative with partner depot owners to provide embedded extension services to 2,000 bagda and golda farmers for the 2009 farming season.
Bangladesh shrimp and prawn farms have had significantly lower yields than other countries due to traditional farming methods, leading to severe under-capacity at the processing level and quality issues.
The Centre will train extension facilitators of the partner depots to train bagda and golda farmers on modified traditional farming techniques to significantly increase pond yields. In recent USAID-funded projects, WorldFish has showed that net yields and profits may increase by over 100 percent.
"This Price initiative will definitely promote increases in production and quality by improving farming methods and farmer group cooperation", said Alan Brooks, Regional Director of the WorldFish Center.
Price looks to assist up to 15,000 farmers throughout the project, including linking them with progressive processors for export sales. This could result in US$50 million in sales and 14,000 new jobs in the sector, benefiting the entire value chain.
Bob Webster, Price Chief of Party, added that the Ghers initiative will also present an excellent opportunity for Price to address the lack of adequate supply of raw shrimp and prawn for processing and export.