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Shrimp production up 3.65% enduring virus attacks

Mehedi Al Amin with Tarikul Islam, Khulna
14 Mar 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 14 Mar 2023 00:05:44
Shrimp production up 3.65% enduring virus attacks

Shrimp production increased by 3.65 per cent in FY22 year-on-year despite virus attacks in small farms, thanks to good yields in large ones and the use of technology.

Over 2.61 lakh tonnes of shrimp were produced in FY22 from catch and culture fishery, up from around 2.52 lakh tonnes in the previous fiscal year, fisheries department data shows.

In FY22, 1.37 lakh tonnes came from farms, 47,606 tonnes from marine capture, and 76,527 tonnes from other sources.

The fisheries department said the use of technology and cluster farming mainly pushed up shrimp production.

However, small farmers witnessed a decrease in yield, and many failed to recoup production costs. Tiger shrimp farmers said most farmers suffered losses due to virus attacks even in large and cluster farms.

Small farms’ losses

Mustafizur Rahman in Koyra upazila of Khulna cultivated Bagda shrimp on seven bighas of land. He said viruses killed fries several times last year when they grew to 2-2.5 inches, which is why he failed to recover production costs.

The Business Post talked to 10 small farmers in the upazila and eight of them said they had incurred losses in FY22 due to virus attacks and the deaths of young shrimps.

Daud Mollah of Assasuni upazila in Satkhira said if production increases in a given year, it goes down next year, adding that production also varies from farm to farm.

“One of my brothers incurred losses as viruses killed his shrimps. But my other brother made profits by cultivating the same species,” he explained.

He said the majority of small farmers witnessed a production fall in FY22.

Yesin Ali of the upazila, who joined his land with others to create a big enclosure, locally known as a mass gher, said viruses have become the biggest threat for Bagda in the last few years.

White spots appear on the bodies of shrimps attacked by viruses, he said.

Most of the large farms earned profits, but some failed to make the expected profits due to virus attacks last year, added Yesin.

Large farms helped boost production

In Koyra, small farmers joined their land to establish big enclosures. As a result, they saw huge yields and made good profits.

Rafiqul Islam, one of the leaders of such a massive farm stretching 400 bighas, said, “We sold Bagda worth Tk 22-23 lakh every month. We were able to sell for over seven to eight months in FY22.”

According to the district fisheries office in Khulna, farmers produced 23,162 tonnes of shrimp on 52,014 hectares of land in FY22, including 11,224 tonnes of Bagda on 32,998 hectares. The FY21 Bagda production was 11,317 tonnes, and the district has 20,430 farms.

Besides, 11,938 tonnes of Galda shrimp were produced on 19,016 hectares of land in FY22 in Khulna, up from 11,446 tonnes in FY21.

The Satkhira district fisheries office data shows Bagda production rose to 26,180 tonnes in FY22 from 24,571 tonnes in FY21 while Galda yield increased to 9,158 tonnes from 8,647 tonnes.

Technology makes the difference

Fisheries department officials said shrimp production depends on the technology used in farms and the depth of enclosures.

“To have a good yield, there is no alternative to increasing the depth of enclosures, ensuring bio-protection on pond premises, and keeping adjacent walkways clean,” Joydeb Paul, Khulna district fisheries officer, told The Business Post.

He said Bagda production increased in large farms despite virus attacks in small ones, pushing total production up compared to the previous year.

The semi-intensive farming technology played a key role, he added.

Fisheries Officer in Satkhira district Anisur Rahman said they are training farmers in advanced techniques to help them upgrade from traditional farming.

Farmers are advised on increasing the depth of enclosures, he said.

“The government is working with farmers in southern districts to bring them under cluster-based farming. The fisheries department is working with 7,500 enclosure owners in 300 clusters. 25 small enclosures form a cluster,” he further said.

Toyebur Rahman, the owner of Meem Nursing Hatchery who used semi-intensive technology in Koyra, said around 2,200 kilograms of Bagda are generally produced per acre if this technology is used.

“Many shrimps died due to late harvest, and I obtained 1,350kg. But I still made a profit. Using the semi-intensive technology and proper care can help farmers make profits even if some shrimps die,” he said.

Exports up 24% in FY22

According to the Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh exported shrimp worth $407.25 million in FY22, with export earnings rising by $78.41 million year-on-year.

Shrimp exports were $328.84 million in FY21 and $332.65 million in the previous financial year.