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Shrimp sector lagging behind : study

Published : Tuesday, 24 January, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 575

Due to lack of facilities including investment, adequate land for extending shrimp farms, modernized technologies and support from the authorities concerned, country's shrimp farming hasn't improved in a desired level. Instead, in recent years, the promise of a shrimp boom has faded and the sector seems to be at an impasse.
According to a study report of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the annual value of shrimp exports is still at 1997 levels, around US $50 crore. This is in contrast to India, that started at comparable levels but currently has a market share worth $800 crore. Shrimp exports have gradually declined since their peak in 2013-14.
The information was revealed on Monday while exchanging views with media persons at the Centre for Integrated Rural Development in Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) Auditorium in Dhaka after an 'Expert Consultation Workshop' held on Sunday at the same venue. IFPRI hosted the workshop and views exchange meeting.
Among others, Deputy Project Director (DPD) of Bangladesh Sustainable and Marine Fisheries Project (BSCMFP) Saroj Kumar Mistri, IFPRI Research Fellow Sudha Narayan, country representative of International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) of the CGIAR Consortium Ricardo Hernandez and IFPRI Research Analyst Razin Kabir also spoke in the views exchange meeting.
In the meeting, the organizers said that a decade ago, there was much to cheer about with respect to the shrimp export performance of Bangladesh. But, the situation deteriorated due to various reasons.
There is a perception that Bangladeshi shrimp is priced higher relative to shrimp from competitors, in part because of lower productivity and in part due to the different varieties. Whereas Bangladesh's shrimp sector is dominated by bagda (black tiger), a native species, the global market for shrimp is dominated by white leg shrimp (L. vannamei), they said.
To better understand the problems faced by the shrimp sector, the CGIAR conducted a scoping study to document the issues faced by the sector including interviews with 25 multi-stakeholder experts. The preliminary results were presented at the Expert Consultation Workshop, they informed.
In the workshop, the stakeholders across the shrimp value chain, including officials from the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI), met and shared their views.
The study revealed in the workshop noted that despite some improvements in yields and farmer adoption of modern technical practices, including farm and feed management, significant structural problems continue to plague the sector.
The report prepared based on the interviews said that the bulk of challenges appears to be at the production end. Small farm ponds and rearing shrimp in ghers limit the survival of shrimp and productivity of the farms. There is a pressing need for infrastructure, especially for deepening ponds and structures for improving water management.
However, farmers have little or no financial support, especially from formal institutions, in the absence of collateral. There was consensus that shrimp, unlike other species, needs technical knowledge. In the absence of such knowledge and the inputs required to do timely availability of appropriate feed, shrimp farming becomes a high-risk venture for small farmers. There is also an associated challenge of ensuring that the farmed shrimp is free from disease. Bangladesh now has at least three hatcheries that produce Specific Pathogen-Free Post-Larvae (SPF PL) that reduces these risks, it said.
However, the present extensive shrimp farming systems limit the ability of farmers to maintain bio-security of farms. Recent data suggests that most ponds that grow shrimp in fact also grow substantial quantities of fish.

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