BANGLADESH : Shrimp processors saw their exports fall in the first half of fiscal year 2018-19, compared to the previous year, and foresee that this situation is unlikely to improve in the second half (January-June 2019).
Md Rezaul Haque, managing director of Modern Seafood Industries, one of the top exporters of frozen fish and shrimp, said that they have been facing "the blow of soaring production of vannamei shrimp in other countries since June 2017."
“It appears that our exports have fallen 50 percent in 2018,” said Haque, director of the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA). In his opinion, chances of recovery in exports are low.
Processors explain that production and exports are usually low during the January-March period, as the season goes from April to October, reported The Daily Star.
Besides, prices decreased in the later months due to abundant production of vannamei shrimp, particularly in India.
According to Haque, shrimp demand was also affected by devaluation of the British pound and a fallout of the US-China trade war.
Brackish and freshwater shrimp is the main livelihood of around 800.000 of farmers in the southwest coastal belt, with a production area of 272.000 hectares.
Shrimp was once the country`s second biggest export, but foreign sales decreased for the fourth consecutive year in fiscal 2017-18, to USD 408 million, the lowest since fiscal 2011-12, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
Shipments also fell 21 percent year-on-year to USD 189 million in the first five months of the fiscal year.
Haque urged the government to allow vannamei cultivation in the country and double the cash subsidy for shrimp and fish exports to 20 percent. At the same time, he asks that taxes on export proceeds should be reduced to 0.25 percent in line with garment.
“This support is necessary to retain exports,” said Kazi Belayet Hossain, managing director of Sobi Fish Processing Industries.