The export volume frozen foods declined by nearly 6% to over 55,000 metric tonnes in the last financial year compared to the FY2012-13 due to production shortfall of fishes, specially shrimps and the imposed export ban on other white fishes.
In June-July of 2013-14, Bangladesh had exported 55,074 tonnes of frozen foods, which was 58,493 tonnes in the previous financial year.
In terms of value, the overall frozen food exports in the last fiscal year, however, rose by over 17% to US$638m compared to $550mn in FY2012-13 mainly due to the rise in global prices of shrimps.
“The country’s fish production is now lower than that of our export demands,” Golam Mostafa, former president of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA), told the Dhaka Tribune.
“As we are suffering from huge fish shortage now-a-days, we can hardly process 20% of the raw materials against our installed capacity,” said Mostafa.
The export quantity also declined due to the lack of government’s cash incentives for the exporters of white fish in last year, he said.
The government used to provide cash incentives for the frozen fish exporters, but there was no such incentive during last year for white fish exports, which also help in declining the trend of our export quantity, he added.
The government used to provide 10% cash incentives for the export of both shrimps, which is now 5% for white fish.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will hold a multi stakeholders meeting to discuss on how to improve production of fishes and solving the financial cries today.
The meting will also discuss as to how the semi-intensive shrimp culture can be spread among the farmers across the country as this project has seen success in Cox’s Bazar area.
“The country produces less shrimps than its capacity due to lack of modern cultivation process and uses of traditional methods,” said BFFEA President Amin Ullah.
The pilot project titled “Semi Incentive Cultivation Method” was undertaken to increase shrimp production. We have seen success and also have a plan to spread this project among the farmers across the country, he added.
According to the sector people, frozen fish export earnings has declined as the government has imposed export ban on white fishes like hilsa fish.
There are 130 shrimps processing plants in the country, of which around 35 plants directly export while 78 processing plants are approved by Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.
According to BFFEA, Bangladesh currently produces around 85,000 tonnes of shrimps per year. A total of 27,6492 hectre land is being used to cultivate shrimps in Khulna and Chittagong division.
Source: The Dhaka Tribune