Monthly Archives: June 2011

Shrimp export booms on value addition, access to new markets

Shrimp export booms on value addition, access to new markets
Kazi Azizul Islam

The country’s shrimp export has been booming in recent months, with exporters getting increased unit price as supply from other sources to the global market has shrunk.

More value addition and getting access to new markets are two other key factors that have brought about the export boost, industry people said.

The market promotion and production diversification efforts made by the exporters, who had to struggle much during the last global economic recession, are finally started to pay off, with the demand for Bangladeshi shrimp products expanding a lot.

But, shrimp production in the Aila-affected coastal areas still being unable to make a full rebound has resulted in an inadequate supply of raw shrimps, which is preventing exporters from making the most of the market potential.

‘Bangladeshi shrimp exporters are now meeting a tremendous increase in demand from the global importers,’ said Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters’ Association chief executive officer Abul Basher.

The country’s shrimp export earnings in 2009-10 fiscal was recorded at $375 million, posting a more than 7 per cent negative growth. But, in the first 10 months [July-April] of the current fiscal year, export earnings from raw and valued-added frozen shrimps amounted to $386 million, up by 52 per cent year on year.

Basher said the quantity of shrimps exported in the current fiscal year would cross the 100 million pound mark, compared to 82 million pounds exported in FY2009-10.

Industry insiders said local exporters started to find high demands for Bangladeshi shrimp products again in the European Union and the United States from the beginning of the current fiscal year as shrimp consumption at restaurants and homes there began to rise with the easing of recession.

For at least one year since the end of 2009, Bangladesh’s shrimp industry had struggled hard just to remain in business by cutting down on price drastically, so much so that the price of a pound of frozen shrimp had nosedived to $4 and even less.

BFFEA CEO Abul Basher said exporters in recent deals were getting around $7 for a pound of shrimp, which had hovered around $5 even a year ago.

Industry insiders said some exporters were now sending cooked and semi-cooked shrimps to EU and other markets at a price at least 25 per cent higher than that of raw shrimps.

Lokpur Fisheries senior executive director Khan Habibur Rahman said around 10 Bangladeshi companies were shipping shrimps in cooked and other value- added forms in large quantities to the importers in Europe and other parts of the world.

‘The market response in the EU and elsewhere to Bangladesh’s value-added shrimp products is really encouraging,’ said Khan, whose company has six marketing offices in the EU and the USA. ‘Many local exporters have made vigorous efforts in recent years to promote and market their products abroad and are now ripping the benefits.’

But, he said, a slow growth in production due to the extensive damage done to black tiger [Bagda] shrimp enclosures in coastal areas by the Cyclone Aila two years back is hindering realisation of the export potential in full.

Industry insiders said the demand for and the price of Bangladesh’s black tiger shrimp had increased as its harvest in Thailand and Vietnam was poor this season due to inclement weather and virus infections.

Cultivation of black tiger shrimps is also declining in Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries as they are opting for farming of hybrid Vannamei variety of shrimp, which is almost nil in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi black tiger shrimps are admired much on global market as these are naturally cultivated.

Despite cultivation and export of sweet water shrimps [Galda] have increased much in the recent years, black tiger shrimps still account for the lion’s share of Bangladesh’s shrimp products export proceeds.

Abul Basher said an enhanced brand image of Bangladeshi shrimp was also contributing towards the export boom.

Shipments are also increasing to some new markets, like Russia and Egypt. Egyptian importers are distributing Bangladeshi shrimps to their Middle East and African clients, he said.

BFFEA president Kazi Shahnewaz said, ‘We see further increase of our export earnings from black tiger shrimps next year with increased supply from the rejuvenated shrimp cultivation in the Aila-hit areas.’


Bangladesh set to install solar-grid

Bangladesh set to install solar-grid

DHAKA, May 29 (BSS) – Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), the state owned financial institution, is set to install 2000 solar PV based mini-grid power plants in the off-grid areas of the country.

“Under this programme, with an average capacity of 25 KW, plants will be installed in the off-grid areas to produce 113 kWh electricity per year,” CEO of IDCOL Islam Sharif told BSS.

According to a survey, a solar mini-grid of 25 kW size can save kerosene consumption of 60 households or small shops each of which consumes 8 liters of kerosene per month, which finally save 9,400 tones of kerosene per year, worth about TK 11, 28,000 lakh.

A solar mini-grid of 25 kW capacity will generate electricity for 4.5 hours and produce 113 kWh electricity that finally reduce demand for 82 GWh (GigaWatt) of electricity from the national grid per year, the study said.

According to the power division, IDCOL will select some NGOs or Private entities (PO) as partner organization to implement the programme on the basis of management capacity, financial strength and micro-finance experience.

CEO of IDCOL told BSS that it would assess the proposals submitted by Pos, approves those on set guidelines and disburse grant and soft loan to them to implement it.

“Pos will be responsible for selection of areas and target consumers. They will install the plants and supply electricity to the consumers and obliged to operate the plant for at least the loan period,” Islam said.

Although the country has a vast experience in installing solar home system in remote and off grid areas but the idea to install solar mini-grid is unique.

Recently government has taken up a pilot project to using solar energy in irrigation pumps that is also a new thing in energy sector.

In every month more than 30,000 solar home systems is being installing in the country that added one and half MW of electricity. IDCOL along with other NGO are engaging in installing solar home system.

To promote the RE programme in the country the government lifted all sorts of tax and VAT from the renewable equipment.

British Virgin Islands company to invest $9m in Adamjee EPZ

British Virgin Islands company to invest $9m in Adamjee EPZ

DHAKA, May 29 (BSS)- Ribbon and Bow Factory Limited, a British Virgin Islands company, will set up a garment accessories manufacturing industry in the Adamjee Export Processing Zone.

This fully foreign-owned company would invest 9 million US dollars in setting up their unit that will manufacture all kinds of garment items. It will create jobs for 520 Bangladeshi nationals.

An agreement to this effect was signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and Ribbon and Bow Factory Limited in BEPZA Complex, Dhaka recently.

A Z M Azizur Rahman, General Manager (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA and Chan Man Piu, Chairman of Ribbon and Bow Factory Limited signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.

Major General A T M Shahidul Islam, Executive Chairman, Abu Reza Khan, Member (Engineering), A K M Mahbubur Rahman, Member (Finance), Md. Shawkat Nabi, Secretary, and other officials of BEPZA were present at the signing ceremony.

Country’s export target pegged at $ 25 billion–25-billion.html

Country’s export target pegged at $ 25 billion
Author / Source : UNB

Dhaka, May 25: Buoyed by healthy performance of RMG, jute and jute goods, leather and frozen foods, the government is likely to set the export target at around US$ 25 billion during the next financial year. The overall export during the ten months (July-April) of the current fiscal stood at US$ 18.2 billion, showing a comfortable growth of nearly 41 per cent, exceeding the target by 22.67 per cent reaching close to the annual target of US $18.5 billion.

The export in April last stood at US$ 2036.17 million showing a healthy rise of 45.56 per cent compared to the corresponding month last year.

Talking to UNB an official of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said that the target for the 2011-12 fiscal might be set at US$ 25 billion with a rise of nearly 13 per cent from the overall export target of current fiscal year.

The official said that with the remaining two months of the current fiscal, export earning has almost touched the annual target. He was hopeful reaching US$ 22 billion exceeding the target of US$ 18.54 billion.

He said that EPB has already held meetings with different stakeholders including key chambers and associations and likely to submit the proposed export target to the Commerce Ministry in June.

Export earnings for the 2009-10 fiscal was US$16.2 billion against a target of US$ 17.6 billion that represented a 4 per cent increase over the 2008-09 fiscal, even though it fell around 8 per cent short of the target.

The EPB official hinted that there would be a significant rise in the export target of RMG considering the performance of the current fiscal year.

According to EPB statistics for July-April period, knitwear fetched US$ 7471.89 million, representing a 45.89 per cent growth over the same period of last year while woven garments earned US$ 6698.52 million, a growth of 38.58 per cent.

Export of home textiles during the period totaled US$ 636.02 million with an astonishing growth of 97.82 per  cent while the other major commodities that witnessed growth were footwear US$ 242.68 million, primary commodities US$ 778.11 million, frozen foods including frozen fish, shrimps and others US$ 511.20 million, and agricultural products US$ 266.91 million.

With the eye-catching performance of revived jute and jute made goods, the export target of this sector is also likely to see a substantial increase.

During the July-April period, jute and jute goods totaled US$ 924.78 million, registering a 42.20 per cent rise. Raw jute exports fetched US$ 289.82 million, jute yarn and twine US$ 422.53 million, jute sacks and bags US$ 171.54 million and other items brought in some US$ 40.89 million.

Indian company to invest $15million in Adamjee EPZ

Indian company to invest $15million in Adamjee EPZ

DHAKA, May 26 (BSS)-Renaissance Jewellery Bangladesh Private Limited, an Indian company, will set up a diamond, gold and platinum jewellery manufacturing industry in Adamjee Export Processing Zone here.

This foreign owned company will invest $15million in setting up their units and manufacture all kinds of diamond, gold and platinum jewellery.

The company will also create employment opportunity for 2,000 Bangladeshi nationals.

An agreement to this effect was signed between Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Renaissance Jewellery Bangladesh on BEPZA Complex today.

AZM Azizur Rahman, General Manager (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA and Hitesh Shah, Managing Director of the company signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.

BEPZA Executive Chairman Major General ATM Shahidul Islam, member (engineering) Abu Reza Khan, member (finance) AKM Mahbubur Rahman, Secretary Md Shawkat Nabi and other officials of BEPZA were present at the signing ceremony.

BOU to launch ICT and Web-based learning system

BOU to launch ICT and Web-based learning system

DHAKA, May 26 (BSS) – Bangladesh Open University (BOU) is going to launch a project for expansion of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and Web-based learning system at grassroots level.

The project titled “Establishment of ICT and Web based Learning System in Bangladesh Open University” will be implemented by the BOU.

In this regard, Economic Relations Division (ERD) of Finance Ministry of Bangladesh Government and Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) signed a record of discussion agreement of 2.7 million US dollar.

Team leader of KOICA Nam Sun Lee and BOU Treasurer Professor Shanti Narayan Ghosh respectively inked the agreement while Vice- Chancellor of BOU R I M Aminur Rashid, Join Secretary of International Relations Division Mohammad Asifuzzaman, Deputy Secretary of Education Ministry Layla Arjumand Banu also were present at the function held at the conference room of ERD.

Under the project, a countrywide network of information, communication technology and web-based learning system and a mobile computer lab will also be established to reduce drop out of students.

Santos rolls out $100m plan for gas exploration

Santos rolls out $100m plan for gas exploration
Star Business Report

Energy-starved industries in Chittagong could see their nagging gas crisis improve next year as energy company Santos rolled out a $100 million investment plan to drill three new wells in the Bay of Bengal.

The Australia-based gas and oil exploration firm said yesterday it plans to spend over $100 million beginning in the last quarter this year to drill three wells in Block 16 in the Bay of Bengal.

The wells will target new pools of gas not intersected by the existing Sangu field development that Santos operates.

Of the three wells, Sangu-11 will be drilled from the Sangu platform and if successful, the port city will get some relief, said John Chambers, president of Santos Sangu Field Ltd.

Chambers was speaking at a media briefing at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka to announce his company’s upcoming plans in Bangladesh. Ajay Nambiar, vice president (planning) of Santos, and ABA Siraj Uddowlah, vice president (government and public affairs), were also present.

Chittagong now receives about 216 million cubic feet of gas a day (mmfcd), which is nearly half of the demand. If the drilling of the three wells turns out successful, the company will be able to supply 50 to 60mmcfd in addition to 16mmfcd it supplies now.

The officials of Santos said Sangu hubs could deliver up to 500mmcfd, as the region is well-placed to bring new gas to Chittagong market. “We have infrastructure and are bold to invest. But the government has to make the PSC (production sharing contract) investment-friendly to allow the market set the price,” Chambers said.

The other two wells will target prospects approximately five kilometres away from the Sangu platform.