Sources at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock said a dried fish industrial zone is underway on a 45 acre land in Cox's Bazar
The government is interested in increasing dried fish exports to other countries.
According to sources at the Dried Fish Packaging Traders Association, dried fish is now a Tk500 crore industry, with Tk300 crore worth sold domestically and the remaining Tk200 crore in exports.
Hence the government is keen to set up a dried fish industrial zone with the latest machinery and technology to bolster the industry further.
Sources at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock said a dried fish industrial zone is underway on a 45 acre stretch of land in Khurushkul union of Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC) is supervising the construction process which is slated to finish by December 2021.
The government is also planning to integrate the zone with the “Asrayan 2 Project” of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Dried fish production is reported active for most of the year on the Cox’s Bazar coast. This is why it is possible to meet domestic demand for the product and to export the excess to other countries as well.
But traders cite inadequate infrastructure as well as police harassment in the countrywide distribution process as major reasons why the sector is not developing. They are continuously urging the authorities to take care of the problem.
A local semi-industrial zone for dried fish has already been set up by private entrepreneurs in the Cox’s Bazar Nazirarhat area, considered to be the largest dried fish production hub in the country.
Business in this area picks up in winter when various kinds of fishes are done drying and are ready to be packaged and distributed for sales. But business there shuts down in the monsoon season, traders said.
Union parishad chairman of Cox’s Bazar Sadar upazila’s PM Khali union, Md Shahid Ullah, said they are trying to modernize the dried fish trade and organize it, which is only possible if the government supports their endeavours.
Md Masudur Rahman Mollah, additional deputy commissioner of the district, said various initiatives are being taken to strengthen the dried fish industry and they are talking to local chamber of commerce members to invest in the sector, which can enable the construction of an industrial factory.
Sources at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock also said the dried fish industrial zone is being constructed at a budget of Tk1,868 crore, under the Fisheries Department’s “Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project” initiative, which will also set up a landing station for fish.
State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock, Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, told the Bangla Tribune that development of the dried fish industry is now a priority for them, which will benefit the economy as an export prospect once it evolves.