Use modern tech to boost shrimp farming: experts
Bangladesh lags behind most other countries in adoption of modern technologies for shrimp farming and utilisation of economic potential, experts said.
The coastal districts of Bagerhat, Cox's Bazar, Khulna and Satkhira have the potential to become the wealthiest areas of Bangladesh if the opportunities in shrimp and prawn aquaculture are properly explored, they said.
A collaboration of the government, investors, financial institutions and technical specialists is needed to make this happen, they said in a three-day seminar in Cox's Bazar that ended on Sunday.
The United States Department of Agriculture -Safe Aqua Farming for Economic and Trade Improvement project of the Winrock International with the assistance of the WorldFish and the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation organised the event.
The programme was organised for bagda hatchery owners and technicians to inform them of the recent international developments in shrimp hatchery technologies.
The Shrimp Hatchery Association of Bangladesh, Cox's Bazar provided technical support for the event.
Thirty three participants, including professionals from the public sector, technicians, consultants and owners of bagda hatcheries took part in the event.
Experts from Europe, India, the Philippines, Thailand, the US and Vietnam gave updates on the latest development in methods of hatchery operations that could be of value to Bangladesh.
In 2009, Bangladesh's production of farmed shrimp and prawns was 102,852 tonnes, similar to that of India's, Winrock International said in a statement quoting data of the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
But in the past eight years, India has expanded the production to more than 600,000 tonnes worth more than $5 billion, while Bangladesh has languished, reaching only 125,699 tonnes in 2015-16.
Bangladesh has twice the area of shrimp farms that India has but its production per area is the lowest among the top seven shrimp producing countries, according to the statement.
In the last one decade, shrimp farming has transformed worldwide thanks to advancements in technology, including the availability of domesticated, disease-free and improved stocks.
Bangladesh's shrimp industry is still dependent on mother shrimp captured from the seas for the supply of seed. But 50 percent of these wild stocks carry diseases that lead to deaths in the farms, analysts said in the seminar.
Neighbouring countries have already shifted to the use of disease-free domesticated stocks, just like the well-established practices followed in the poultry, rice and vegetable sectors, they said.