As part of the initial value chain development process supported by the Livestock and Fish research program, each of the target value chains carried out a ‘situation analysis’ to assess the conditions within which the target value chains in the selected country operates. It aims to set broader national contexts for rapid and in-depth value chain assessments and analysis at sites or small geographical scales through the subsequent research activities.
The Bangladesh situational analysis that provides an assessment of past trends, current status, and likely future directions for the aquaculture value chain in Bangladesh has just been published.
The report is focused on: (i) the production and production systems of fish and shrimp; (ii) the consumption and expenditure of households; (iii) the value addition and marketing system; (iv) the export and import of fish; (v) inputs and services such as fish health, fish genetics, feeds, knowledge systems, access to credit, etc. (vi) food safety related to fish; (vii) the competitiveness of the fisheries sector; (viii) value chain governance; (ix) externalities; (x) aquaculture development strategies and activities; (xi) the research and development partnership; and (xii) a review of the opportunities for pro-poor fish value-chain development.
Past trends, current status, and likely future directions of the aquaculture value chain
There are approximately 795 native species of fish and shrimp in the freshwater and marine waters of Bangladesh and 12 exotic species that have been introduced.
The GIFT strain of tilapia (Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia) was developed through collaborative research initiated by WorldFish during the 1990s. GIFT was developed to enhance production traits of tilapia, a commercially important fish species. Presently, more than 95% of tilapia hatcheries and farms of Bangladesh are growing the GIFT strain, and farmers are reportedly satisfied with the strain, but there are concerns about whether the strain has been adequately maintained.
Household fish consumption and expenditure: Historically the Bangladeshi people have a strong preference for fish, which forms an important part of their customs and culture. Almost all households consumed fish at least once a week. Fish is the most important animal food source in Bangladesh, accounting for more than 60% of the total intake.
Gender issues: Pond aquaculture is an appropriate entry point for empowerment of women; it offers opportunities, particularly for middle-class household women’s movements outside the homestead, while for poor women, social restriction working outside has not been followed due to economic imperatives.
Production and feed: The most important cost factor in aquaculture is the cost of feed.
Fish health and disease control; Prevention against fish disease is becoming an increasingly important issue, and disease induced mortality is a serious issue for the fish seed industry. However, diseases are not a major constraint to improving fish production in Bangladesh at present; poor quality of fingerlings due to poor brood selection and inbreeding are a major issue. Cost-effective methods to accurately and quickly detect fish-borne diseases are now available to farmers.
Feed competition and impacts on ecosystem health; A comprehensive analysis released by WorldFish and Conservation International (CI) has investigated the environmental impact of the world’s major aquaculture production systems and species. It concludes that the demand for aquaculture products will continue to grow over the next two decades as a key source of animal protein for growing urban populations, and that the industry needs to meet this demand with improved efficiencies and reduced environmental impacts.