A study shows that the market for farmed fish grew by a dramatic 25 times in three decades in Bangladesh.
The latest study of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) also said among fish farmers, 75.0 per cent of them sell fish commercially.
The study said Bangladesh is experiencing a quiet revolution in its domestic fish farming sector, with significant gains among all the players in the industry.
The Washington-based global think tank, IFPRI, notes, “The fish value chain in Bangladesh is growing and transforming very rapidly, in all segments. The quiet revolution in the fish value chain is a domestic market revolution: 94% of aquaculture production is destined for domestic consumption.”
The government has targeted to make the country self-reliant in fish production by 2019, with producing 4.2 million tonnes of fishes from current level of nearly 3.8 million tonnes.
With an annual production of nearly 20 lakh tonnes of cultured fish, Bangladesh is the world’s fifth largest producer of inland aquaculture after China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated in its report titled “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016”.
Ricardo Hernandez, IFPRI research coordinator and lead author of the study, said “Aquaculture has become an important driver of Bangladesh economy and the industry now employs as many persons as the garment sector, another growing success story in the country.”
“What really surprised me about these findings was the extent of the growth in many sectors, not just in production but also in many off-farm segments, such as rural and urban traders, input dealers and feed mills,” he said.
He said the rapid growth has been spawned by increased demand, improvements in technology, communications and infrastructure; and investments by millions of farm households and small and medium enterprises.
The researcher said that the government played an important role in infrastructure investment such as investment in fish seed production, electricity and roads.
“There has been a proliferation of feed mills, hatcheries, farmers and traders, with rapid increase of purchased seed and feed, rapid increase in the use of chemicals, increase in the use of hired labor, and rapid increase in investment in agriculture equipment,” said Hernandez.
Noting significant improvement in marketing of fish the study said that rural fish farmers used to sell their fish to local traders just over a decade ago, but they are now selling two-thirds of their product to large wholesalers based in towns and cities.
Statistics of Bangladesh’s Department of Fisheries (DoF) figures show that the country’s annual fish production stands at 37 lakh tonnes, and nearly 56 percent of that comes from farmed fish, 28 percent from captured fish and the rest from marine fisheries.
According to the DoF, fisheries contribute 3.69 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP and over 23 percent of agricultural GDP. With an average fish intake of 53 gram per person a day, fish now account for 60 percent of protein supply for the entire population.
Aquaculture saw a robust growth of 8.2 percent, much higher compared to the average growth rate of all fisheries (5.4 percent) in the last one decade.
Source: Financial Express