BFFEA says the cancellations took place through 290 import orders
Frozen fish sector, the country's fourth largest export earning entity, have faced order cancellations of $597.78 million from their buyers, mostly in western countries, in the last couple of weeks as coronavirus pandemic almost savaged their economies, according to Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA).
BFFEA President Kazi Belayet Hossain in a statement, issued yesterday, said the cancellations took place through 290 import orders from global buyers.
“We export perishable items that require shipment within tight deadline but now we are failing to do so because of the virus spread," he added and said that most of the processing factories incurred huge losses with their unsold fishes for shipments.
On the other hand, new shrimp cultivation season , the major export item of the sector, was knocking at the door, said Belayet.
He feared that fishermen, processing firms and exporters would be hit hard if the situation emerging from the coronavirus persisted.
"To combat the fallout, we need a raft of fiscal policy supports including bank interest waiver for at least two years for the sector people," said the business leader.
In addition, the government should provide interest- free loan for reviving the ailing sector, added Belayet.
It also demanded 20% cash incentives instead of existing 10%.
According to Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau data, in July-January period of the current fiscal year , the country earned $377 million from exporting frozen and live fish, down by 4.39% from a year-ago period.
There are 105 frozen fish processing factories in the country while only 30 to 35 are involved in export business.