With the blessings of nature, Bangladesh is furnished with lots of rivers, canals, and floodplains. Significantly, the south & southwestern part of the country is enriched with lots of coastal rivers, canals, tributaries & floodplains, including mangroves.
Since the seventies, the socio-economic development & change of social conditions of the people in these areas mainly depend on shrimp’s culture. Nowadays, about 8 lakh farmers in the region have been cultivating Black Tiger and Freshwater scampi on about 3 lakh hectares of land in a completely natural way.
Looking at EPB’s shrimp production & export figures over the last decade, one thing is very clear-In 2014-15, Bangladesh earned the highest amount of foreign currency from shrimp & fish with an export of 44,278 (Forty-Four thousand Two Hundred Seventy-Eight) Metric Ton, worth of USD 510 Million Dollar. Since then, our export is continuously declining every year. And during the last fiscal year 2020-21, we earned 340 million, which is 35% lower than the highest export in 2014-15.
Over the past two decades, our neighboring and competing countries have introduced commercial farming of high-yield Vannamei shrimp. Vannamei itself covers about 80 percent market share among the 32 billion global shrimp market.
Out of 32 billion, a large portion of this global market is occupied by value added & ready-to-eat products. This market is rapidly growing day by day where we have no contribution. High yield & cheap Vannamei shrimp is the only game changer to get access on this segment of international market.
In this situation after a decade-long effort from Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporter’s Association , Department of fisheries decided to allow two pilot projects of Vannamei shrimp culture. One is permitted to Shushilan which will be implemented in Nona Pani Kendra, BFRI, Khulna. Another one is permitted to Argo Business, Cox’s Bazar. Finally, on 1st September 2019, Shushilan received the final approval from Department of fisheries. Later, M.U. Sea foods Ltd, a member of BFFEA came forward to implement the entire project.
To continue this farming management during this pandemic was very challenging. Finally, by the grace of God, Vannamei reached to the level of harvesting. The Total harvesting has been done with the presence of the govt. assigned body. On 1st July, 90 days of cultivating period, the first harvesting was done, the total production was 2169 kg from a 0.4 hectares pond. From the same size of next three pond, 3800 kg ,3816 kg and 4101 kg harvested respectively. In total, 13,886 kg of Vannamei were found using about 1.56 hectares of land with an average production of 8901 kg per hectare.
Now, it’s time to get attention of our policy maker for the shrimp industry. With the right policy support therefore allowing commercial farming of Vannamei would bring huge improvement of livelihood for the people of south & southwestern part of Bangladesh. On the golden jubilee of Independence, Bangladesh frozen Foods Exporter’s Association – would like to commit to earn yearly 3 billion us dollar export within next 3 years with the hand of Vannamei.