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Shrimp Exports To EU Back On Cards?

Crustaceans Economics Food safety & handling +4 more

BANGLADESH - Things could be looking up for Bangladesh's freshwater shrimp industry as the EU six month ban on shrimp imports ended yesterday (11 January).

A high-powered EU delegation is due on 18 January to examine the latest improvement in compliance.

Last June, entrepreneurs voluntarily suspended the export of salt-water shrimp to the EU for six months following the detection of health hazardous antibiotic, Nitrofuran, in it, which resulted in cancellation of more than 50 consignments.

Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) has set a target to export freshwater shrimp worth Tk 45000 million (US$64.9 million) for this year.

"We have earmarked a value of Tk 4,500 crore freshwater shrimp exports to different destinations including the EU, providing no problems arise and the EU does not object," said BFFEA President Md Musa Meah.

The association has already forwarded a proposal to the government suggesting the setting up of at least two modern testing labs in Khulna and Chittagong, he said.

On chemical use in shrimp production, he said the government should make a shrimp policy forthwith to propel the growth of the industry.

He asked the government to give necessary directives to the deputy commissioners in Khulna and Chittagong so that they could initiate a campaign to withdraw the antibiotic drug items from local markets.

Mr Meah said the sector had witnessed some sort of uncertainty after two consecutive disasters and global recession that brought down prices, forcing some factories to shut down and ultimately dented the buyers demand for salt-water shrimp.

"We have got nothing from the government in the backdrop of the crisis and not even a single penney from the stimulus package worth of Tk 50000 million."

Chairman of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) Syed Mahmudul Haq said they want to have a pint point in every level of production like farmers, businessmen, processing and export.

The foundation has embarked on a plan to formulate 'national plan' in collaboration with the industries association and the Department of Fisheries to promote the sector, said Mr Haq.

Fisheries and Livestock Ministry officials said Bangladesh exported freshwater shrimp worth of Tk 1140 million to different destinations except the EU during June to November last year while it was Tk 2460 million in the same period in 2008.

The country exported around 50,368 tonnes of shrimp of all categories and earned Tk 27740 million last year and this year the ministry expects to export 55,000 tonnes of shrimp.