A New Era for Shrimp Farming in Bangladesh
In a groundbreaking development, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has officially granted permission for the commercial cultivation of vannamei shrimp in Bangladesh. This momentous decision comes two years after the government allowed trial production of this highly sought-after shrimp variety. With this newfound opportunity, the country’s farmers are poised for a revolution in the seafood industry.
Vannamei Shrimp – A Game Changer
Vannamei shrimp, a non-native species, has garnered immense attention for its disease tolerance and remarkable growth rate. Unlike its counterparts like bagda, the cost of cultivating vannamei is significantly lower, making it a win-win for both farmers and consumers. While bagda production costs around Tk100, cultivating vannamei costs only Tk50. S. Humayun Kabir, Vice President of the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA), remarked, “These shrimps are being cultivated in regions like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar. Now that we are allowed to cultivate it commercially, cultivation will expand, and the farmers will achieve success.”
The Road to Commercial Cultivation
The journey to commercial cultivation of vannamei shrimp has been a carefully orchestrated process. The Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute played a pivotal role in conducting research on this shrimp species. Based on their expert opinions, the government granted permission for its commercial production. This year, 12 establishments received authorization for the experimental cultivation of vannamei shrimp. Of these establishments, six are located in Khulna, one in Satkhira, and one in Jessore. The remaining four were instructed to begin vannamei cultivation after making necessary infrastructural reforms.
Meeting Market Demand
Traders and exporters have long clamored for the cultivation of vannamei shrimp, which is known for its profitability. Unlike golda and bagda shrimp, which can only be cultivated once a year (twice if they die during cultivation), vannamei can be harvested thrice annually. This difference in production frequency is a game-changer. While a normal pond can yield 300-400kg of shrimp per hectare, the same area can produce a staggering 7,000-8,000kg of vannamei shrimp.
A Global Perspective on Vannamei Shrimp
The commercial cultivation of vannamei shrimp is not new to the world. This shrimp breed, originally native to Hawaii, gained prominence in countries like Thailand, China, and India as early as the late 20th century. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Global Aquaculture Alliance, vannamei shrimp production reached 3.55 million tons in 2018, significantly outpacing bagda and golda production. Asia, including countries like China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, played a pivotal role in this growth, collectively producing 2.391 million tons of vannamei shrimp in 2018. The demand for this shrimp variety soared, leading to its cultivation in 62 countries worldwide, with 15 of them located in Asia. Today, vannamei shrimp accounts for a staggering 77% of the world’s shrimp trade.
Bangladesh’s Entry into the Vannamei Shrimp Market
For years, Bangladesh stood as an exception, with commercial cultivation of vannamei shrimp being prohibited. However, that tide has now turned, opening up new horizons for the country’s seafood industry. As the world continues to demand this delectable and cost-effective shrimp variety, Bangladesh is poised to make its mark on the global seafood stage, with farmers and consumers alike benefiting from this exciting development. In conclusion, the government’s decision to allow commercial vannamei shrimp farming is a landmark moment in Bangladesh’s seafood industry. Farmers, traders, and consumers can look forward to a brighter future with the promise of enhanced production and economic opportunities in the realm of aquaculture. As Bangladesh joins the ranks of countries reaping the rewards of vannamei shrimp cultivation, the world eagerly watches to see how this flavorful delicacy transforms the nation’s seafood landscape.