A Consultative Workshop on “Comprehensive Support Measures for Development of an Inclusive and Sustainable Aquaculture Industry in Bangladesh” was recently held in Dhaka on February 20, 2017.
The workshop was presided over by Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman, Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation where Dr. Sattar Mandal, Former Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Agricultural University was present as the chief guest and Dr. Syed Arif Azad, Director General, Department of Fisheries was a special guest on the occasion.
Specialists, Government officials, representatives of development partners and private sector stakeholders participated in this workshop jointly organized by Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation and Solidaridad Network Asia. Notable participants in the workshop included Mr. Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Rafiqul Islam, former Director General, Department of Fisheries, Mr. Md. Sainar Alam, District Fisheries Office (Reserve), Department of Fisheries, Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed, former World Bank official, Dr. Bazlul Haque Khondker, Professor, Department of Economics, Dhaka University, Mr. Laurent Umans, First Secretary Food Security, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. David Currie, Aquaculture Production and Trade Specialist, Winrock International, Mr. Md. RQM Forkan, Managing Director, Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited, Dr. Tapash Kumar Biswas, Director (Research), Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation etc.
The workshop participants stressed in their interventions that development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector should be given high priority as this would enable the country to realize its SDG related objectives relating to elimination of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
In his observations, Dr. Syed Arif Azad noted that the Government was implementing comprehensive plans and programs for the development of the sector for which he requested sustained support from all concerned. He noted that the sector needed major investment in infrastructure, brood development and management, institutional capacity buildup and sustained resources flow to the sector. Dr. Mahmudul Karim in his presentation noted the areas where significant production increase is possible in Bangladesh. Both Dr. Karim and Dr. Sattar Mandal called for planning and optimal utilization of all the water-bodies in Bangladesh including the derelict water-bodies/ ponds. Mr. Nasiruddin MD Humayun, former Additional Director General of DOF informed the workshop about wide ranging initiatives being implemented by the Government to make its Blue Economy initiatives, while Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed former World Bank official called for assessment of short term and long term impact of climate change on Bangladesh fisheries sector.
The workshop participants emphasized on the need for providing adequate resources for the sector for its sustained growth and development, a pro-growth, pro-investment water-bodies leasing system, substantial investments for production of and making available good seeds and feed, improving the dissemination of information of new technologies as well as disease management in the sector. The workshop also considered various aspects of credit system in Bangladesh as they concern the small fishermen noting that significant scope is there to improve such credit disbursement to help small fishermen. The Government should come forward to introduce these improvements and develop suitable credit products for them.
Dr. Rohana Subasinghe, International Aquaculture Expert and Formerly of FAO briefed the meeting about regional experience on how other countries developed their aquaculture sector with support to comprehensive water-bodies leasing system, development of new technology and their dissemination as well as provision of adequate resources. Mr. Zillul Hye Razi, former Trade Advise, European Union informed the workshop about steps Bangladesh need to take to secure her export interest in the context of new and emerging challenges, particularly in the EU market for Bangladesh fisheries products. Ms. Fatima Ferdous, International Consultant, BSFF underscored the importance of exploring alternative markets for Bangladesh fisheries products and export of new species which could earn Bangladesh more from international market. Mr. GB Banjara of Katalyst and Mr. Selim Reza Hasan of Solidaridad Network of Asia briefed the workshop about the important ways in which the development partners are extending their support to help growth and development of fisheries and aquaculture sector in Bangladesh. They mentioned that their experience about collaboration in this regard has been particularly rewarding and the development partners will continue the culture of this collaboration.
Mr. Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Dr. Bazlul Haque Khondker, Professor, Department of Economics, Dhaka University, Mr. Md. RQM Forkan, Managing Director, Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited, Dr. Tapash Kumar Biswas, Director (Research), Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation also addressed the workshop.