Shrimp, the third largest exporting goods of Bangladesh, is threatened by many obstacles. European Union, commonly known as EU is the largest importers of our shrimp. Recently EU imposing a stringent testing procedure to ensure the quality of Bangladeshi shrimps. The EU has taken the decision due to the serious shortcomings reported by a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) mission which visited Bangladesh in January 2010. The FVO found insufficient improvements in laboratory capacity here since 2008 for detecting some pharmacologically active substances in shrimps in Bangladesh. (1) But the problem lies on the testing procedure and quality maintenance facilities provided in Bangladesh. The new imposed standard cannot be maintained as there is no proper equipment and skilled personnel to do so. Previously this shrimp industry have seen a lot of hurdles, like banned shipment of prawn, natural disaster like AILA, etc. but things started to get improving and shrimp of Bangladesh is getting its market.
But a new rule may diminish the shrimp farmers dream. As a poor nation to cultivate shrimp rather than rice is not always a good decision for them. And also various experts were against it, as the total industry is vulnerable due to human tastes, but saline water of certain areas like Sundarban, Sathkhira, etc, made the farmers choose shrimp over the rice. But farmer’s fate has not changed a bit. As the exporters organization consumes a large sum of the profit. Now it is the right time for the government to take proper initiative to save this billion dollar business. Government need to set a proper laboratory to ensure quality of the shrimp, so that EU authority does not banned the shrimp again. Government should also work with the grassroots level of the shrimp farmer to ensure proper wages and training. Or else this industry will be losing its glory and foreign currency, also.
(1) Financial Express- VOL 1818 NO 142 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Sunday July 18 2010