A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) and Bangladesh Commerce Bank Ltd. (BCB) today in Dhaka to work together to develop credit products for fish farmers in Bangladesh. Chairman of BSFF Syed Mahmudul Huq and Managing Director of BCB Mr. RQM Forkan signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations. The signing ceremony was attended by Engineer Rashid A Chowdhury, Chairman of BCB, Syed Arif Azad, Director General, Department of Fisheries Bangladesh, high officials of the Department of Fisheries, BCB, BSFF and Mr. Md. Ghulam Hussain, former Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and currently, Managing Director of IFC, among others.

The MoU was signed with the objective of assessing the credit needs of the small fish farmers in Bangladesh who contribute importantly to the fish production in Bangladesh and to the national growth and development. It is widely recognized that the production of small fish farmers can be increased manifold if they make adequate investment in infrastructure, quality seed and feed and Good Aquaculture Practices. Presently, they cannot in many cases do so as their access to affordable credit sources remain problematic and inadequate. The private financial institutions in Bangladesh are also not known to extend credits to them in any significant way for many complex problems. BSFF and BCB would, through the MoU signed today, work together to develop business models and credit products from private financial institutions which can be taken advantage of by small fish farmers. The wide ranging activities under the MoU would specifically look into the possibility of favourable conditions under which such credits could be extended, explore modalities under which cost of credit will be minimal and the repayment schedule for credit extended will be synchronized with the production cycle so that it does not put unmanageable burden on the beneficiaries.

Both the Chairman of the BSFF and the BCB expressed hoped during the signing ceremony that cooperation between their two organizations will open up new opportunities for pro-growth inclusive growth in the fisheries sector. Syed Arif Azad, Director General of Department of Fisheries assured during the signing ceremony that Hon’ble Minister for Fisheries and Livestock and his Ministry and Department of Fisheries are all committed to help the small fish farmers in Bangladesh and will be forthcoming with all policy support and help the private financial institutions and others keen on meaningfully supplementary Government’s growth initiatives in the sector.

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