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Shrimp exports fall despite increase in output & processing plants
January 26, 2001
Chittagong-- (UNB) – The number of shrimp processing plants has increased in the country alongside shrimp output, but its export continues to fall dimming the hopes of growers.
The blame for the gradual loss of Bangladesh shrimp market abroad goes to lack of effective policy and scientific method of processing.
In 2000, only 2,800 mts of shrimp were exported although over 4,5000 mts of shrimp produced in the country as only 44 shrimp processing plants, out of 114, are now engaged in export.
Of the 44 exporting plants, only 30 are using the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) formula, an internationally accepted method of processing.
According to official statistics, shrimp is presently produced on 1.5 lakh hectares of land in the country against 52,000 hectares in 1982-83 fiscal and the output rose to 45,000 mts from 11 mts in 1982-83.
Some leading exporters said the United States and the European Union stress the need for following HACCP in shrimp processing, a method hardly used in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh earned only Tk 1600 crore by exporting 2,800 mts of shrimp to a few irregular importing countries against its total production of 45000 mts last year and non-adoption of HACCP method processing is largely blamed for it.
If the remaining quantity of the shrimps could be exported to our regular importers, the sector would have emerged as the top export-earning sector of the country.
The concerned officials of the EU countries were learnt to have expressed dissatisfaction with the production method and standard of processing plants in Bangladesh.
Once the EU countries imported 45 to 50 percent of Bangladesh’s total shrimp production.
According to competent sources, only 61 shrimp processing factories, out of 324, have licenses while 44 got permission to export shrimps to the European countries. The remaining plants are now on the verge of closure.
A leading shrimp producer said for producing and processing shrimp as per the HACCP method, the shrimp farms must be located under a rich communication network and shrimp depots should have rich water supply and clearing facilities, and the floors of the depots must be smooth and paved. In addition, the walls of depots should be 30 centimeter high so that rainwater cannot enter into it.
Some shrimp exporters said Bangladesh shrimps are usually infected with various bacteria, which fade the brightness of the fish.
Besides, if any pesticide or antibiotic found in shrimp’s body, which is normal in our country, it is treated as poisonous in the international market.
The other reasons that contributed to the gradual fall in shrimp export include mixing sand and jute fibre with shrimps while packaging shrimps, and use of low quality cartoons.