Category Archives: Dairy, Meat, Cattle, Fish and Poultry Industry

Training for the fish cultivators begins in Gaibandha

Training for the fish cultivators begins in Gaibandha

GAIBANDHA, Dec 27 (BSS): A 4-day training for the fish cultivators at the initiative of department of fisheries has begun at the conference room of Sundarganj Upazila Parishad of the district on Monday.

District fisheries officer Khirod Kumar Paul formally inaugurated the training in the morning as the chief guest and district fisheries resources survey officer Golam Jilani was present as the special guest.

The fish cultivators would be imparted training on paddy fish culture, carp nursery and mixed fish culture (Galda) so that they could change their lots by cultivating fishes in the pond and other water bodies.

A total of 154 fish cultivators of 15 unions of the upazila are participating in the training in two batches under the project of fish culture extension in union level.

Pran makes it big in dairy business

Pran makes it big in dairy business

Top Right: A woman sells milk to a representative of Pran, the country's largest agro-processor. Bottom: A man offloads milk containers from a small truck at Pran's milk collection centre in Pabna. Photo: PRAN

Sohel Parvez

MOHAMMAD Noufel Ali pours five litres of milk into a cooling tank and gives his passbook to a young man who records purchases from milkmen in Pabna. Noufel, shrouded in a towel against the morning cold, comes out to a small yard, clearing the way for his elderly neighbour Iman Paramanik.

Paramanik also came to deliver milk to the collection centre set up by the country’s largest agro-processor Pran in Dodalia village in Chatmohar upazila in the district. It is one of the 20 centres in 20 villages in the upazila.

“The centre has saved my working hours. Now I do not need to wait hours at the market to get a buyer,” said Noufel who rears two milk-cows.

“I can come anytime of the day to deliver milk and get payment each weekend,” said the 50-year Noufel, from village Dodalia in Chatmohar upazila of Pabna, 235 kms north of the capital Dhaka.

Every morning and afternoon, Noufel, Paramanik, Zahidul and other farmers or their family members come to the centre to deliver milk, contrary to their tradition of going to the nearby markets or depending on middlemen called Ghosh to sell their produce.

This new trend of directly selling to a chilling centre has gained popularity over the past year after Pran established 20 chilling centres in 20 villages of the upazila with a vision to revolutionise milk production in an initiative that Bangladesh sees for the first time.

Dubbed as Pran Dairy Hub, the initiative of setting up collection points to encourage cattle farming and boost milk output has already started bearing fruit.

Milk collection by Pran has doubled in just one year. Establishment of chilling centres by the processor near the farmers has also created a new zeal for cattle farming.

Many farmers have started buying cows and the existing producers seem keen to expand.

Paramanik and Zahidul signed up in cattle farming after Pran set up collection centres in their village.

Ishak of nearby Bhadra area, increased the size of his farm, while another farmer Mohammad Asaduzzaman changed his decision to quit farming.

“I stopped selling cows after Pran set up a collection centre in our village. We used to sell milk to middlemen who gave us Tk 18-20 a litre. But my income from the similar volume of milk has more than doubled,” said a 25-year old Asaduzzaman who owns 10 cows.

He said he now earns Tk 17,000 a week by selling milk directly to the collection centre of Pran at Bhadra.

“I have taken farming as permanent business after Pran set up collection centres,” he said.

This timely initiative of Pran comes when Bangladesh suffers from a shortfall of domestic milk production due to low productivity per cow of 200-250 litres during a 10-month lactation period.

Industry analysts linked low milk yield to a slow pace in replacement of local cows with the genetically improved ones, a lack of breeding and veterinary services and inadequate investment in feed and fodder development.

In the past decade, production of milk has increased gradually every year because of efforts of farmers and processors to feed the growing demand for milk thanks to economic growth and rise in people’s per capita income.

During fiscal 2009-10, domestic production of milk grew 32 percent to 2.36 million tonnes (2,360 million litres) from 1.78 million tonnes in 2001-02, according to Department of Livestock Services (DLS).

However, a huge deficit still forces Bangladesh to import thousands of tonnes of milk powder every year.

In the fiscal 2009-10, total milk shortfall was 10.96 million tonnes, according to DLS.

To reduce the deficit in local milk production, Pran began to organise farmers and set up collection centres in villages of Chatmohar in the middle of last year under its initiative of establishing dairy hubs.

DeLaval and Tetra Pak, which have technical know how and technology on milk production and processing, extended support to Pran.

In line with the target, the processor started providing various extension services to farmers including veterinary care, animal husbandry, dairy housing, quality feed and breed improvement through artificial insemination (AI).

Pran workers give tips to farmers on better housing and feeding management of cows free of cost. It includes keeping cows untied, ensuring light and passage of wind through the shed, always keeping the water jar full to allow cows a drink anytime.

Other services include de-worming and periodical vaccination by maintaining health cards for each cow in its intervention area.

To support farmers to get proper feed for cows, Pran also provides balanced feed prepared at its factory at cost price along with seeds of fodder and training to prepare silage to feed cattle in rainy days.

By importing semen from the US, it also gives AI services to farmers at cost price with the aim to improve existing breeds of cows to scale up milk yield.

In addition, establishment of chilling centres at farmers’ doorsteps has cut dominance of middlemen in milk collection allowing producers to get better prices.

Pran’s support has helped boost farmers’ income by increasing milk production per cow and thus boosted its milk collection from the area to 17,000 litres daily from 8,000 litres before.

With the successes at Chatmohar, Pran now plans to set up similar dairy hubs all over the country with the vision of making Bangladesh a milk surplus country by 2020.

By that year, Pran, which now processes 100,000 litres of milk daily, wants to establish 60 dairy hubs. A second hub has already been set up at Gurudaspur of Natore, another northern district.

The third and fourth are likely to be set up in Rangpur and Sirajganj.

All the hubs will see replication of Chatmohar model where full time veterinary doctors, extension workers along with field supervisors and 20 chilling centres will be accessible by local dairy farmers.

“Here is the sector in Bangladesh which is waiting to be exploited. The dairy sector has immense potential here, but it still remains neglected,” said Chief Executive Officer of Pran-RFL Group Amjad Khan Chowdhury.

Sayef Nasir, country director of Tetra Pak, said the initiative of developing dairy hub would help reduce Bangladesh’s milk import dependence.

“It is also important from the viewpoint of rising prices of milk globally. Population growth and increased consumption in China is a factor behind the spike in prices of milk,” he said.

Nasir said the way forward for Bangladesh is to boost milk output through various efforts including upgrading local breeds of cows with foreign breeds that have higher milk productivity.

“Dairy development has got longer term and wider implications from the perspective of poverty reduction and job creation in the country,” he added.

That is what Pran chief Amjad Chowdhury aims to do.

“The only answer to lift people out of poverty is job. Creating jobs in urban areas is expensive due to higher living cost. Cattle farming can help create more jobs in rural areas and reduce pressure of jobseekers in urban areas,” he said.

“If people get fair price of their produce, they will be better off,” Chowdhury said.

The Pran-RFL Group employs over 30,000 people.

“We want farmers to treat dairy as business instead of treating farming as usual,” said Chowdhury.

He said the establishment of dairy hubs, where Pran gives intensive focus, will allow the processor to get more milk.

But the benefits of increased milk production and expansion of cattle farming will go beyond Pran and the whole country will be benefited, observed Chowdhury.

“Cattle farming also offers scope of producing biogas and bio-fertiliser. From cow dung, skin and hide to meat all are useful which makes dairy a profitable investment.”

Chowdhury said Pran invests crores of taka in establishing dairy hubs as part of its responsibility to the nation.

“Yes, it (dairy hub) is going to take my money. But once it starts, it will fly,” said Chowdhury, who dreams of turning Bangladesh into a milk surplus country.

“This sector is highly neglected, although its development is very much needed for Bangladesh. If I can contribute to developing the domestic dairy sector, it will be my ultimate satisfaction,” Chowdhury said.

$32m surplus earnings from shrimp exports in 5 months

$32m surplus earnings from shrimp exports in 5 months

DHAKA, Dec 11 (BSS) – The country earned US$ 32 million surpass earnings from shrimp exports during the five months of the current fiscal leaving aside the financial constraints facing the European countries, the major destinations for Bangladesh’s shrimp export.

Bangladesh maintained the positive growth in the export earnings during the period at a time when the country’s competitors such as India and Vietnam could not perform up to the mark, thanks to the government steps for export promotion.

Bangladesh earned US$240.19 against the target of US$208m during the period registering 15 per cent growth, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) latest data.

“We got good price of shrimps in the global market. Country’s export performance is good compared to our competitors India and Vietnam,” M Kazi Shanewaz, President of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA), told BSS today.

Shanewaz said the association has targeted Taka 6,000 crore earnings from frozen food exports this fiscal.

The export earnings could be increased to a large extent subject to adoption of modern technology both in fish production and processing, he added.

Referring to the natural disasters including cyclone Aila, the BFFEA chief said shrimp producers incurred huge loss of money due to the natural calamities.

The sector needs government support to offset the loss of exporters and increase production for maintaining steady growth in the years to come.

The EU is the largest market for the country’s frozen fish, followed by the USA.

Bangladesh registered a 40 percent rise in export earnings from frozen foods mainly shrimp to $625 million in fiscal 2010-11 from $445 million in the previous year, according to the EPB.

Project for boosting fish production and poverty eradication

Project for boosting fish production and poverty eradication

GAIBANDHA, Nov 28 (BSS) – A project entitled ‘Poverty Reduction and Livelihood Security for the People of Economically Depressed Areas’ is being implemented by the fisheries department at 135 upazilas in 23 districts of the country.

The aim of the project designed for four years from July 2010 is to enhance fish production in the country to meet the growing demand of the nutrition of the people through utilizing the existing water bodies of the country.

Besides, it helps local fishermen to involve in alternative income generating activities for passing their hardships without economical troubles during the lean period and dry season.

A total of 80,000 poor men including fishermen would be brought under the project and they would be provided with fish fries, bicycles, big pots, financial support and other assets like goat and sheep, sources said.

On November 24, an awareness workshop organized by the department was held in the conference room of district fisheries officer of the town here.

The function was held with acting DFO Khirod Kumar Paul in the chair while project director (PD) M Nazrul Islam attended the function and addressed it as the chief guest.

The function was also addressed, among others, by senior Palashbari Upazila fisheries officer Aftab Hossain and Sadullapur upazila fisheries officer Abu Bakar Siddique.

The speakers in their speeches urged all to culture fish in modern method and to protect the indigenous fish spices including mother fishes to increase its production through establishing fish sanctuaries in the nearby water bodies.

All the upazila fisheries officers and 60 members of community base organization and fishermen participated in the workshop.

EU stops mandatory test of Bangladeshi frozen fish

EU stops mandatory test of Bangladeshi frozen fish
Star Business Report

Bangladesh has got rid of a mandatory EU screening for exporting frozen fish after the country made progress in its residue monitoring system.

Earlier the European Union used to test 20 percent of frozen fish consignments from Bangladesh to keep its exporters under a continuous pressure to improve compliance.

The decision was posted in the official journal of the European Union on November 16.

The lifting of the restriction, which was slapped two years ago, will cut delays in export and reduce costs.

“It will bring about changes in the negative mindset about our products abroad and increase confidence about our laboratory capability,” said Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdul Latif Biswas at the seminar. “Demands for our fisheries will rise,” he said.

The Department of Fisheries, and EU-United Nations Industrial Development Organisation co-organised the event at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka, focusing on emerging food safety issues and compliance.

The EU relaxed its rule after an audit team of the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission visited Bangladesh in March-April.

“The results of that inspection confirmed considerable improvements in that third country, particularly in the implementation of analytical methods used for residue monitoring and traceability of animals and products,” said Official Journal of the European Union.

“Based on the results of that inspection, it appears unnecessary that Member States continue to ensure additional sampling and analytical tests on consignments of crustaceans imported from Bangladesh,” it said.

At the programme, participants said there has been progress in various areas of fisheries sector to ensure production and processing of safe shrimp over the past several years.

With registration of 190,000 shrimp farms, implementation of traceability has become easier. The number of laboratories and testing machines has increased. At the same time, the government has also framed laws on fish feed and hatcheries.

“But we have to continue our efforts to sustain our achievement,” said the minister, stressing the need for steps to control the use of illegal chemicals, pesticides and feeds, stop anti-biotic contamination, and poor processing at factories.

The sector that employs more than 10 lakh people fetched $625 million in exports in fiscal 2010-11.

During July-October export earnings rose 21 percent to $208 million, according to Export Promotion Bureau data.

S Humayun Kabir, director of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association, termed the EU waiver a great achievement.

He said the association has set a target of $1.5 billion from export of shrimp and fisheries by 2015.

Kabir, however, feared damage of cultured shrimp due to virus infection that causes millions of dollars in losses, putting many farmers in debt.

“The future sustainability depends on the future of disease management,” he said.

Fisheries Secretary Ujjwal Bikash Dutta, and Counsellor and Head of Cooperation of EC delegation to Bangladesh Milko Van Gool also spoke.

Cattle purchase through online from next year

Cattle purchase through online from next year

DHAKA, Nov 5 (BSS) – Online trading entrepreneurs are planing to introduce online buying and selling of sacrificial animals from next year during Eid-ul Azha as they are encouraged by increasing income from their existing e-business.

“We are going to add buy and sale of cattle and cattle heads from next year because of increasing trend of online trading of various goods through digital devices,” Marketing Director of FSB (Future Solution of Business) Sadequa Hassan Sejuti told BSS today.

She said people can buy and sale their sacrificial animals from their home by online through e-commerce at the advent of Eid-ul-Azha next year.

FSB, a youth group that initiated e-commerce in the country first, has already clinched this year United Nations World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) for creating outstanding digital contents for rural people.

It earned about Tk 200,000 a month by selling goods through online trading.

“We are expecting more earning as the number of registered customers are increasing every month,” Sejuti said adding at present we have 17000 customers who are purchasing goods from us through online trading.

Sejuti said farmers who are interested to sell cattle can upload pictures of cows and goats to our websites with prices and carrying cost next year.

People can make order for their sacrificial animal their credit cards through the website and will get home delivery of their chosen animal with fair prices.

In one hand the online trading of sacrificial animals will reduce the cattle prices as there will be no middleman on the other hand it will reduces hassles of busy city dwellers by getting rid of go to the cattle market and carrying animals to their home.

As the money will be transacted by online banking through e- commerce, it will be safe for the cattle traders.

FSB takes various kinds of products from producers specially under privileged women and girls all around Bangladesh and then opens up national and international markets for them through online by their website – amar desh amar gram, Sejuti said.

Another owner e-commerce sits Shahriar Hassan Simanto who earned Tk. 50,000 per month by selling goods including electronic items also said this year they are evaluating cattle markets and talking with the farmers and cattle traders to initiate online cattle trading in next year.

“We are making a list of interested farmers this year who show interest to sell their cattle directly to buyers through our Web sites,” he said.

The e-commerce has already been used to sell vegetable in fair prices to the dwellers of the capital through online.

During the last Ekushey Boi Mela, the FSB sold books through their website creating a virtual book fair.

IT experts termed the initiative of purchasing products through online as a major landmark in line with the present government’s pledge to build digital Bangladesh as it would bring fruits of digital devices to the doorsteps of the common people.

5-yr project aims to increase milk, meat production

5-yr project aims to increase milk, meat production
Author / Source : BSS

DHAKA, Oct 23:  The government has initiated a project to increase meat and milk productions in the country by developing crossbreed buffalo in suitable areas including the coastal belt. The five-year programme is designed to develop a new type of buffalo population, which will be an outcome of cross between superior breed and native buffalo.

With implementation of the programme, the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), is expecting significant increase in both milk and meat production.

According to DLS officials, the project would help increase the annul milk production to 2.33 lakh tonnes from current 1.80 lakh tonnes. The meat production would subsequently increase to 26,000 tonnes from 18,000.

The current annul milk production is around 2.5 million tonnes, of which 98 per cent comes from cows. The annual demand is around 12.5 million tonnes, leaving a huge amount to be met every year from import, official sources said.

The officials said the country’s buffalo population, mostly in the costal belt and low-laying areas, is considered as the second largest source of milk and meat after cattle. According to DLS, there are 1.26 million buffalo heads in the country.

The officials said that the native buffalo produces only 600- 1000 litters milk in a lactation period of 275 days whereas the new breed would give 1500 to 2000 litters for the same period.

Describing the development process, project director Dr Manzur Kader at the DLS said initially the native buffalo would be crossed with the high-yielding Indian buffalo breed Murrah to improve the genetic potential of the native ones.

He said 10 Murrah bulls and 40 thousand doses semen of Murrah breed would be imported from India and Pakistan for this purpose.

The Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) is working with the DLS to implement the Taka 34-crore project by 2014.

Director General of the BLRI Dr Shahidul Haq told the BSS that breeding, feeding and disease diagnostic techniques would be developed and disseminated to about 2,340 rural farmers through forming farmers’ community in 117 villages of 39 upazilas of the districts to make the project effective.

He said the project would also help create employment opportunities of 2,340 unemployed farmers besides the increase in milk and meat production. Initially, the program will be implemented in 14 different districts including Dhaka Sirajgong, Rangpur, Jamalpur, Tangail, Mymensingh, Feni, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chittagong, Mowlavi Bazar, Patuakhali, Bhola and Bagerhat. The districts are chosen on basis of their favourable geographic condition for buffaloes.

BB wants credit flow to fish farming in cage

BB wants credit flow to fish farming in cage
Staff Correspondent

Fish farming in cage is entitled to get bank loans as per the Agricultural and Rural Credit Policy of the Bangladesh Bank.

The Agricultural Credit Department of  the central bank said in a circular on Monday

that the banks and financial institutions should take the necessary steps for financing this subsector of fisheries.

The circular said banks and financial institutions banks and financial institutions should evaluate the potentials of fish cultivation and develop credit norms specifying the amount of loan, tenure disbursement period and repayment schedule.

According to the Agricultural/Rural Credit Policy for fiscal year 2011-12, considering the importance attached by the government to fisheries, banks should take the necessary steps to increase the supply of credit to fisheries and inform people through publicity about the availability of the credit facility.

The policy said the banks should disburse fisheries loans, developing suitable products for the fishermen, so that they could become self-sufficient through availing of the credit facility.

Processed shrimps a hit abroad

Sown & Reaped
Processed shrimps a hit abroad

Workers process shrimps into ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook forms in ARK Seafoods Ltd in Chittagong. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

Sohel Parvez

It is a graduation from mere suppliers of shrimps to high-end processors, inspired by best practices in other countries.

Continuous efforts have given the Bangladeshi shrimp exporters a new identity. They are now known as the processors of value-added shrimps. They are no longer mere suppliers of raw materials for buyers.

Today, a large volume of shrimps and frozen fish, the country’s third biggest export earner, are exported in ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat forms, thanks to steps taken two decades ago.

“Until the mid-80s, we were raw material suppliers to European buyers who processed shrimps at their factories. Later, we thought that we could do the same,” says Ashim Kumar Barua, director of Apex Foods Ltd, a pioneer in value added shrimps and fish.

“We had the confidence that we could process our products further. If processors in Thailand and Europe could do it, we could too,” he adds.

Based on that spirit, the Chittagong-based Apex Foods began efforts to process shrimps in 1988 and set up machines to make individually quick frozen (IQF) shrimps — which give consumers scope to cook the desired quantity instantly.

The move to export shrimps in IQF form was meant to shift from the practice of exporting shrimps in frozen blocks. It reduced the hassles of end consumers, who previously had to wait for the whole block to defrost before breaking free the desired number of shrimps.

“The IQF shrimp offers them the benefit. There is no need to wait. Consumers can just pick out the number of shrimps they want and cook instantly. Shrimps in IQF form are preferred in households,” he says.

Initially, our buyers were from Denmark and the UK. We exported shrimps in cooked brown form and IQF form, says Barua.

Following Apex and some other leading processors such as Meenhar Seafoods, Rupsha Seafoods and Fresh Foods began to sign up for upgrading their plants to make value-added shrimp.

Industry insiders say the attempt to add value to shrimps was taken in a bid to gain wider acceptability among buyers in the West and sustain competition with other countries like Thailand.

A rise in the cost of labour for processing shrimps in Europe and changing consumer preferences gave additional impetus to the local exporters. Furthermore, they also received better prices for processing the seafood up to ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat stages.

Currently, 20-25 processing plants are engaged in exporting more than 50 types of value added shrimps — IQF, tail-on, tail-off, P&D (peeled and de-veined), breaded and marinated, etc. The volume of exports of value added items is rising, according to exporters.

Industry insiders say the amount of exports of these further processed or value added shrimps would be 40-60 percent of total shrimp exports of 50,000 tonnes a year, rising from 30,000 tonnes a decade ago.

“The main demand from buyers is for value added shrimps. Except for restaurants, no one wants to buy traditional shrimps sent in block forms,” says Md Amin Ullah, managing director of ARK Seafoods Ltd.

Barua says the exports of value-added shrimps began to rise in 1998.

“Now, value added products occupy more than 90 percent of our export basket,” says Barua of Apex that exports 5,000 tonnes of shrimps and frozen fish a year.

The company makes 70 types of value added shrimps, such as herb and garlic, butterfly, cooked butterfly, breaded and marinated shrimps, for buyers abroad including superstores such as Walmart and Tesco.

Industry people say Bangladesh exports of processed shrimps mainly reach Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, UK, US, Canada and Australia. A portion is also exported to Japan and Russia, while some exporters are looking to tap the Middle Eastern and African markets.

However, demand for shrimps in block form will remain. Restaurants prefer shrimps in block forms, says Barua.

According to exporters, shrimp processing has widened job opportunities in the sector, giving employment to more than 10 lakh people, including farmers. Various ancillary industries have also developed.

“It has created new jobs for people as factories have expanded their processing lines,” says the managing director of ARK Seafoods Ltd.

Bangladesh’s image has also brightened in the export markets, adds Barua of Apex.

“This has been possible because of value addition. If we do not make any major mistake, there will be no problems in exporting,” says Barua.

“Prospects are bright. But one problem is that demand for shrimp depends on the economic condition of the western countries. If the economies of our importing countries do good, we will do better,” says Barua.

Another problem is low farming of shrimps, processors add.

“There is demand for shrimps abroad. If you can give us the raw materials, we will be able to export greater quantities,” says the managing director of ARK Seafoods.

DFO produces 1m fish fries in Jamalpur

DFO produces 1m fish fries in Jamalpur

JAMALPUR Sept 18 (BSS): District Fisheries Office (DFO) produced huge fish fries through Beel nursery project to help increase the fish production in open water bodies during 2010-2011 in the district.

According to DFO sources, about 1m finger ling’s fish was produced under the Beel nursery programme in seven upazilas of the district against the target of 8 lakh 75 thousand.

The District Fisheries Office (DFO) sources said, under the project, spawn of Rui, Katla and Mrigel fishes were released in the selected open water bodies in seven upazilas of the district. The Fisheries department after nursing the spawn for two months until it enlarged to 4 to 6 inches it arranged to release the finger ling’s fish in the open water bodies by cutting bank of nursery during rainy season.

According to DFO, 1.25 kilogram spawn was released in each upazila of which 20 per cent Katla fish, 50 per cent Rui fish and 30 per cent Mrigel- Kalbaus fish.

Local committee of beneficiaries monitored the nursery side by side of Fisheries department.

District Fisheries Officer Md Nurul Islam said, the government has taken the programme to increase the natural fish resources as indiscriminate fishing decreasing the fish production sharply.

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.’

2-lakh tonnes additional fish production possible in rice fields in Rangpur

2-lakh tonnes additional fish production possible in rice fields in Rangpur

RANGPUR, May 15 (BSS) – State Minister for Land Advocate Mostafizur Rahman MP has said that 2-lakh tonnes additional fish production is possible annually through enhancing pisciculture in rice fields in Rangpur division alone.

For this, he suggested for inspiring the farmers, providing them with the latest scientific technologies, and educating them in producing quality fingerlings of high yielding GIFT Tilapia fish in their farmlands or other tiny places.

He was addressing the final workshop on ‘Enhancing the Impacts of Decentralized (Fish) Seed Production (RIU-DSP) Project organised Saturday by RDRS Bangladesh at Begum Rokeya auditorium in the city as the chief guest.

Director of the World Fish Centre from Bangladesh and South Asia Office William J Kollis chaired the workshop and Divisional Commissioner Jashim Uddin Ahmed and Principal Scientific Officer of the Department of Fisheries Dr Md Abdul Jalil, attended as the special guests.

Coordinator of the World Fish Centre Dr Binoy Kumar Barman and Head of Agriculture and Environment of RDRS Bangladesh Dr MG Neogi addressed the workshop and Kuddus Ansari from India conducted the technical session.

The workshop was informed that the UK-based DFID-funded 3- year RIU-DSP Project would be completed simultaneously by May 31 next in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

RDRS Bangladesh has been implementing the project in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts in Bangladesh.

Under the project, 18,000 fingerling producers has been produced and 21,000 targeted small and marginal farmers in these districts will now produce six crore GIFT Tilapia fingerlings and 6,000 tonnes additional Tilapia fish worth Taka 100 crore annually.

The project enabled the selected farmers producing fingerlings in the small ditches in rice fields by releasing the Tilapia broods from late March to mid-April as breeding continues till April- May when the farmers start selling their fingerlings.

RDRS Bangladesh with its 11 partner organisations have been distributing broods to produce fingerlings in the rice fields to help the poor earning profits, tackling poverty and meeting their nutrition demand by GIFT Tilapia farming and selling fingerlings.

The speakers said that pisciculture in rice fields has become popular and the farmers are becoming more interested in culturing fish because of availability of quality fingerlings at community levels using the proven technology.

The experts said that the project has been proved very effective when fish production has been reduced over the decades and suggested for conducting follow-up activities so that the involved farmers would continue the process in future.

Local frozen fish exporters meet US standards

US gives all-clear to BD shrimps
Local frozen fish exporters meet US standards
Sonia H Moni

The United States has no qualms about the quality of Bangladeshi shrimps and labour and safety standards in the country’s thousands of fish farms and processing plants, an industry leader said on Thursday.

Syed Mahmudul Huq, chairman of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation, said US experts visited the Bangladeshi shrimp industry over the last two years and their reports have given the sector the all-clear signal.

“It is good news for the frozen fish sector. It is the result of a coordinated effort of the government and stakeholders in the industry,” the BSFF chairman told the FE.

He said the shrimp industry has cleaned up its negative image, weaning itself off child labour and upgrading the processing and freezing facilities to world standard in an effort to allay the fears of western consumers.

“Three high-level teams visited local shrimp farms and processing units since 2009. After returning home, they haven’t come up with any new suggestion, which means they are now satisfied with our labour and safety standards, he said.

“We have been able to eliminate child labour completely from the shrimp industry and provided training, workshop to the workers and shrimp farmers so that they can implement global standards strictly,” he added.

The three teams made the visit after the top US trade union group, the American Federation of Labour and Congress Industrial Organisation (AFL-CIO), lodged complaint with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) about Bangladesh’s shrimp industry.

The influential group prodded the US government to scrap the limited duty-free access facility to the Bangladeshi shrimps if Dhaka fails to comply with its tough labour standards including total elimination of child labour.

The US Congress held public hearing on Bangladeshi labour standards in Washington DC on the AFL-CIO complaint twice in November 2007 and May 2009.

Mr Huq who attended the hearings on behalf of the Bangladeshi shrimp exporters said Bangladesh shrimp industry has graduated into a top global player in terms of quality and labour practices.

BSFF has since identified 10 shrimp processing plants in Chittagong and Khulna as models to implement labour standard compliances in line with the country’s labour laws, 2006.

To meet the global standards, top exporters such as Meenhar Sea Food, Kuliarchar, Atlas, Jalalabad, National, Rupsha Fish, Fresh Food and Sobi Sea Food have upgraded their facilities and trained up factory staff, workers, and contractors.

He said BSFF will organise a seminar on success stories of labour compliances in the local shrimp industry next week.

New policy boosts for frozen fish exporters

New policy boosts for frozen fish exporters
Monira Munni

The government has embarked on a major policy boosts for the frozen fish exporters, scrapping weight-based cash incentive system that encouraged dumping and extending the moratorium on term loan repayment.

A meeting led by Prime Minister’s economic advisor Dr. Mashiur Rahman took the decision Tuesday in an effort to make the country one of the top global exporters of shrimp and white fish.

Officials said under the new decision to be effective from July 1, the exporters would no longer get cash incentive based on the quantity of the frozen fish they export every year.

An exporter used to get $3.79 for per pound of shrimp and $ 1.10 for per pound of white and other fish. But now the exporters will get the cash support on the actual rate of invoice value from the next financial year.

Exporters said the latest government sops would spur the country’s annual frozen fish export to one billion dollars a year from $445.18 million in the 2009-10 financial year.

“The new invoice-based cash incentive would encourage local exporters to seek maximum value of their products. It will cut low-value export and dumping,” Kazi Shahnewaz, president of BFFEA, told the FE.

Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Ujjwal Bikash Dutta and representatives from Finance Division, Banking and Financial Institutions, Bangladesh Bank, Export Promotion Bureau and leaders from Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) were present during the meeting.

The decision comes after the government formed a committee headed by Dr. Rahman to help the frozen fish exporters find a foothold in the global market and face the aftermath of the world’s one of the worst recessions.

Shahnewaz who was present in the crucial meeting said the committee also decided to extend moratorium on the 30 per cent of the exporters’ term loan for 15 months starting from April this year.

“The decision will largely help us overcome the recent liquidity crisis,” the BFFEA president said.

The frozen fish exporters have been hit hard by the global recession which saw their annual shipment clock negative growth last year — for the first time since 2001-2002 fiscal year.

The sector has been suffering from credit crunch since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. The BFFEA has sought a special government allocation of 4.50 billion taka to ride out the slump.

New hilsa sanctuary in Padma

New hilsa sanctuary in Padma
Staff Correspondent

The government is soon going to declare a 20-kilometre stretch of the Padma in Shariatpur a new sanctuary for hilsa to increase the production of the kingly fish, said Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdul Latif Biswas yesterday.

This will be the fifth hilsa sanctuary to be made at the lower basin of Padma river, he said while speaking at a press briefing organised by the ministry at the Department of Fisheries in the city on the eve of Jatka Preservation Week 2011.

The government has taken initiative to make the existing law relating to the ban on catching hilsa during the breeding season more time-befitting, the minister said.

The Jatka Preservation Week will be observed from April 4 to April 10.

The minister would formally inaugurate the week through a rally at Kalapara in Patuakhali tomorrow.

The four other hilsa sanctuaries are a 100km long stretch from Shatnol of Chandpur to Char Alexander of Laxmipur in the Meghna River; a 90km long Shahbajpur channel of Meghna confluence including Madanpur of Manpura, Char Ilisha, Char Pial of Bhola district; a 100km long Tentulia river from Bheduria of Bhola to Char Rustom of Patuakhali; and a 40km long Andharmanik river route under Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali.

Latif Biswas said a total of 330km area in 21 upazilas under four districts has been declared sanctuary for hilsa.

Fishing in the sanctuaries in Chandpur, Laxmipur and Bhola is prohibited from March to April while the ban comes into effect from November to January in Patuakhali, he said.

The minister said around 2.85 lakh tonnes of hilsa fish have been netted in the first seven months of this fiscal year and the production may reach 3 lakh tonnes at the end of the year.

The export earning has been doubled in the first seven months of the current fiscal year compared to last year, and the government earned Tk 280 crore exporting 6,898 tonnes of hilsa till February this fiscal year, he said.

The government will have to spend around Tk 5.17 crore for alternative employment of the fishermen in these districts, he added.

Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Uzzal Bikash Dutta, among others, was present at the briefing.