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Raising Shrimp Yields in Bangladesh

BANGLADESH - An initiative has been announced to immediately raise shrimp farm yields for the benefit of the entire shrimp sector in Bangladesh.

Under a subcontract with Price, the WorldFish Center would implement the GHERS (Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp) initiative with partner depot owners to provide embedded extension services to 2,000 bagda and golda farmers for the 2009 farming season, reports The New Nation.

According to the news agency, the Bangladesh shrimp and prawn farms have historically had significantly lower yields than competitor countries due to very traditional farming methods. These very low yields have been one of the most serious sector constraints, contributing to significant under-capacity at the processing level. This in turn has also led to significant quality issues due to the fierce competition for supply at the processing level.

Working from a Price office in Khulna, the WorldFish Center will train extension facilitators of the partner depots to train bagda and golda farmers on modified traditional farming techniques to significantly increase pond yields. In recent USAID-funded projects, WorldFish has demonstrated that net yields and profits may increase by over 100 percent.

"This Price initiative will definitely promote increases in production and quality by improving famling methods and farmer group cooperation", Alan Brooks, Regional Director, WorldFish Center told The New Nation. Accordingly, Price looks to assist up to 15,000 farmers throughout the life of the project, including linking them with progressive processors for export sales. This could result in 50 million USD in sales and 14,000 new jobs for the sector, benefiting the entire value chain.