Bangladesh’s shrimp export value rises after years of decline

Published on
January 5, 2022
Fishers set up shrimp larvea nets in Shibsha River, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has seen its sales of black tiger shrimp surge in the last six months, following repetitive crashes over the course of many years due to the strong competition from vannamei producers in other countries, The Business Standard reported on 5 January.

The South Asia nation exported black tiger shrimp worth USD 268.95 million (EUR 237.7 million) in the first six months of the 2021-2022 fiscal year (July-December 2021), an increase of 38.2 percent from USD 194.58 million (EUR 171.9 million) in the same period in 2020, data from Bangladesh’s Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) showed. Bangladesh’s fiscal year runs from 1 July to 30 June of the next year.

It is expected that the country’s shrimp export value in the current fiscal year will surpass the turnover of USD 329 million (EUR 290.7 million) earned in 2020-2021 and become the highest compared to recent years.

Exports of black tiger shrimp from Bangladesh were disrupted when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, but demand has recovered in 2021 with exporters seeing their sales on the rise, Crimson Rosella Seafood Ltd Managing Director Md Delowar Hossain was quoted as saying.

But the spread of the omicron variant may pose a threat to the recovery of shrimp sales.

"Preparations for the new season are underway. If any major lockdowns happen, then all shrimp traders and farmers will incur losses," Hossain said.

Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) President Kazi Belayet Hossain also anticipated that the country’s shrimp exports will be hit if the new COVID-19 variant leads to the closure of restaurants in Europe, the major market for black tiger shrimp from Bangladesh. He said exporters have started to be impacted by the new variant and called on the local government to assist export activities.

Bangladesh exports 85 percent of its shrimp to Europe, with the U.S., Japan, and other markets purchasing the remainder.

Bangladesh’s shrimp export value reached a peak of USD 550 million (EUR 486 million) in fiscal year 2013-2014 before hitting a long decline, amid fierce competition from vannamei producers from other countries.

In response, Bangladesh has initiated a number of trials of vannamei farming in a bid to revive its ailing shrimp industry. In early 2021, the first batch of 1 million vannamei post-larvae imported from Thailand has been raised in four ponds operated by the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) in Paikgachha, Khulna, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s share in the global shrimp market has dropped from 4 percent to 2 percent between 2013-2014 and 2018-2019. Its shrimp export value and production have contracted by 33 percent and 28.5 percent in the period, respectively, according to the EPB data.

Photo courtesy of zaferkizilkaya/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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