The Ministry of Commerce will ask the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to take necessary steps to resolve the controversy over the cultivation of Vannamei shrimp in the country, Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed said on Thursday.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of Bangladesh Furniture and Interior Décor Expo 2013 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, he attributed the fall in the frozen food export to the problem of low productivity of shrimp in the country.
Frozen foods exports recorded 9% drop to US$544m in 2012-13 as fish production fell due to disease in prawn. In the previous fiscal, the exports stood at over $598m, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data shows. The EPB set a target of exports worth US$700m for the last fiscal year.
Exporters and experts stressed the need for modern cultivation method and supply of virus-free seeds to increase fish production in Bangladesh.
Of the items, frozen fish earned $60m, which is over 46% less than that of the previous year’s $108m while shrimp bagged $454m. Meanwhile, other items showed over 65% growth to $31m.
The commerce secretary said that the country’s shrimp industry is ailing with various other problems apart from the low productivity.
He said the farming of Vannamei shrimp, which is a variety with high productivity, can activate sick shrimp factories and increase the export earnings.
“But there are debates over the introduction of Vannamei that needed to be overcoming. We’ll communicate with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries in this regard,” he said.
“Revenue from exports of frozen foods plunged as production of the country’s fish decreased,” Shubhashish Bose, Vice Chairman of Export Promotion Bureau, had told the Dhaka Tribune earlier.