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Exporters worry about losing markets as shrimp adulteration continues unabated

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Despite drives by police, Rab and the Fisheries Department in Bagerhat over the past few years to stop adulteration of shrimp, the unscrupulous practices of dishonest traders continue unabated.

Shrimps from Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts are exported to several countries. Injecting jelly, water, rice starch, and harmful substances into shrimps to increase their weight and earn extra profits are causing concern among exporters and consumers.

Shrimp exporters fear they may lose the overseas markets if shrimp adulteration continues.

Shrimp was once the second-most exported product from Bangladesh but in the last few years it failed to hold up against the growing global competition and currently holds the seventh position among top exported goods from Bangladesh.

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In the last six months (July-December), mobile courts in Bagerhat seized some 1,660 kg of shrimp while traders were injecting jelly-like substances into them.

Executive magistrates and the Bagerhat District Fisheries Office (DFO) conducted 17 mobile court drives in various areas of the district, including Bagerhat Sadar, Fakirhat, Mollahat, Chitalmari, Rampal, and Mongla during the period.

Bangladesh Export shrimp adulteration

Photo: UNB

During those drives, some 1,660 kg of shrimp were seized and destroyed, nine traders were arrested, five traders were fined, and a total of 13 cases were filed.

The DFO teams and executive magistrates conducted 48 mobile court raids in different areas of the district and seized 540 kg of adulterated shrimp in FY 2021-22. A fine of Tk 1.65 lakh was collected in that fiscal year.

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ASM Russel, Bagerhat district fisheries officer, said they have repeatedly warned traders and farmers.

“We’ve gave them advice on how to maintain the quality. However, some dishonest traders continue to inject such substances to earn extra profits,” he said.

Shrimp farmers of the district say there is no scope for adulteration at the production level. Around 55,000 farmers in the district are involved in shrimp farming.

Fakir Mohitul Islam Suman, president of the Bagerhat District Shrimp Farmers’ Association, said that traders are to blame for this dishonest practice.

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“We give utmost importance to maintaining quality. There is no room for adulteration on our part. Traders and middlemen are to blame for this,” he said.

Syed Zakir Hossain, president of Barakpur Wholesale Fish Market of the district, said that they confiscate adulterated shrimp.

“The adulteration process mainly happens after the middlemen buy shrimp from different markets. They buy from us and sell to exporters after injecting substances into the product,” he said.

He also said some exporting companies knowingly buy adulterated shrimp.

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He demanded strict legal action against the adulterators.

Export shrimp adulteration Bangladesh

Photo: UNB

Locally known as “white gold”, shrimp is one of the major export items of the country.

According to the district’s fisheries department, there are around 77,000 enclosures (“gher”, as called by locals) on 72,724 hectares of land. Among them, there are 52,000 enclosures on 52,000 hectares of land for black tiger shrimp or “Bagda” farming, and a total of 25,000 enclosures on 20,000 hectares of land for scampi shrimp or “Galda” farming.

A total of 35,000 metric tons of shrimp were produced in Bagerhat in the last fiscal year and 35,672 metric tons in FY 2020-21.

Source: United News Of Bangladesh