Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) and Solidaridad Network Asia today organized a day long workshop in Dhaka on Voluntary Certification for positioning Galda and Bagda as the Premium Brands in the International Market. Attended by a cross section of stakeholders working in the shrimp sector in Bangladesh, the workshop was presided over by Mr. Md. Anisur Rahman, Chairman, National Working Committee for Sustainable Development of Bangladesh Shrimp Sector and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Mr. Md. Fakir Firoz Ahmed, Coordinator, BPC and Dr. Syed Arif Azad, Director General, Department of Fisheries were the Special Guests on the occasion and Mr. Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation chaired and moderated the deliberations during the workshop. Mr. Moin Uddin Ahmed, Team Leader of Sustainable and Inclusive Shrimp Business Promoted Project, Solidaridad Network Asia made the main substantive presentation during the workshop.

The participants in the workshop had a broad discussion on the priority areas of action needed to promote Galda and Bagda produced in Bangladesh as premier export brands. It was stressed during the general discussions that increasing productivity in the shrimp sector significantly was necessary for increasing export of shrimp and shrimp products from Bangladesh. However, it is also equally important to ensure the quality of shrimp exported from Bangladesh and assure the international buyers and consumers in this regard. During the meeting, it was highlighted that official quality certification requirements are already there, enforcement of which is important for the sustained export growth from Bangladesh from the sector. This certification requirements can be complemented with important gains in consumers’ confidence through promoting third party voluntary certification which may interalia assure consumers about traceability, shrimp health management, source of stock, feed sourcing management, mangrove and habitat impacts, use and discharge of water, predator control, escape management, general working conditions, health and safety and relevant community issues. The buyers and exporters may mutually agree on such certification.

The Chairman presiding the workshop, Director General of DoF, Coordinator of Business Promotion Council, BSFF Specialists, DoF Officials, industry representatives, Senior Vice President and Director of BFFEA, President of Bangladesh Aquaculture Alliance, Mr. Selim Reza Hasan of Solidaridad, representatives of Winrock International, Swisscontact Katalyst, WorldFish all emphasized during the workshop that by going for voluntary certification, Bangladeshi exporters can gain in terms of prices of their exports and long term sustained interest of external buyers to import Bangladeshi shrimp products. The meeting discussed at some length, the scope of initiative needed to make voluntary certification a useful tool at the disposal of Bangladesh exporters. The work on promoting such certification would require actions in a number of production related and processing issues. Mr. Asif Hossain from USA noted that in USA, introduction of voluntary certification in Bangladesh, may help position Bangladeshi export products in a relatively advantageous position.

The workshop concluded by adopting a number of important recommendations that would facilitate introduction of voluntary certification. Mr. Anisur Rahman, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries, Dr. Arif Azad, Director General, DoF, Mr. Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman, BSFF and Mr. Selim Reza Hasan of Solidaridad Network all expressed the hope that in promoting voluntary certification in the shrimp marketing an important milestone could be achieved in further developing the approximately USD600 million shrimp export sector of Bangladesh with significant economic gains for the country.

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