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

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.