The export-oriented shrimp industry of Bangladesh is facing turbulence as the quantity and value of exports declined for consecutive years at a stretch. A strong reason behind this is the rise of cheaper vannamei shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) produced and supplied by other countries. Now we need to reposition our Black Tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) which is mostly known for its tiger stripes, premium quality, larger size, bold and sweet taste.
To revive the position of our Black Tiger shrimps, we need to overcome mainly two types of challenges. The first type of challenge is more technical in nature. Our farmers can produce only 320-330 kg/hector shrimps annually, which is lower than in other countries. The foremost reasons behind this include lack of modern technologies, quality fingerling, a healthy environment, and proper management. Other challenges can be termed as non-technical. For example, repositioning our Black Tiger will require changing the perception of global consumers through rebranding, reassurance, and coordinated marketing campaign. Now, we need to take a holistic approach. With our collective effort, we can create a strong brand image for end consumers especially in the US and European markets. Besides, joint venture trail projects, Specialized Export Processing Zone (EPZ), Demo Farm establishment, and convenient credit facilities are some of the other avenues we can explore.
Currently, the government is promoting shrimp export with a 10% subsidy. If it is increased to 20%, the shrimp producers will eventually get a better price resulting in an increased production-ready for export processing. However, the subsidy can be reduced back to 10% gradually (i.e. 2% reduction annually for 5 years) once we have built the momentum. Stakeholders like Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) needs to work with the government for proper planning and policy support. Thus we can reach the tables of more global consumers with the highest-quality Black Tiger shrimps from Bangladesh.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO