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Giving Bangladesh’s Shrimp Sector a Competitive Edge

Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp (GHERS) initiative under Poverty Reduction by Increasing the Competitiveness of Enterprises (PRICE)
Project leader
Manjurul Karim
10 Sep 2008
31 Dec 2012

Tiger shrimp, Bangladesh
The aquaculture industry is an important driver for the economic growth of Bangladesh. It generates more than US$500 million in export sales each year and employs more than 1 million people. Nonetheless, there are still significant opportunities to help the industry maximize its growth. For example, the shrimp sector in the country is unable to achieve its full potential due to poor quality shrimp and low yields that have created a gap between the demand for and supply of shrimp to local processing factories.
GHERS: Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp. 2011.
The dynamic shrimp sector in Bangladesh is facing several challenges, particularly low yields and poor quality. Regardless of the high demand for this product, shrimp farming is still characterized as being traditional and having low productivity. The Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp (GHERS) has been initiated to narrow the demand and supply gap by increasing farm productivity and vertically integrating the value chain to comply with quality requirement.

Increasing shrimp yields

The Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp (GHERS) project has been initiated to help develop the shrimp sector’s competitive stance in the global market while contributing to pro-poor economic growth. The WorldFish Center has partnered with Chemonics Incorporated to achieve this goal by narrowing the demand and supply gap through increased farm productivity and better coordination between all actors in the value chain to comply with government quality requirements. This USAID project builds on two previous USAID initiatives (Shrimp Seal of Quality implemented by Agro-based Industries and Technology Development Project II, and the Shrimp Quality Support Project implemented by WorldFish). The project’s financial goal is to increase shrimp sales by more than US$50 million over five years.

Integrating value chain actors

The project is piloting a scheme to integrate value chain actors and build greater consensus among them. Development of more than 30 shrimp depot owners as “entrepreneurs” is central to the approach. The project directly supports depots with technologies and technical staff to build capacity, particularly through the transfer of technical knowledge and skills to farmer groups. Indeed, more than 21,000 farmers will be trained and organized into more than 800 farmer groups, to apply the improved technologies and synchronized harvesting techniques developed by WorldFish and partners. The adoption of such technologies is predicted to increase farm productivity by 20%. Farmers’ group leaders are also being trained as local extension agents.
The GHERS project will also link depots with hatcheries to ensure supply of screened quality post larvae to farmers, and organize synchronized intra and inter farmer group harvesting and bulk supply of shrimps to depots and processors. In addition, project staff will work with government agencies to encourage better quality assurance processes to meet the demands of international markets. The project researchers' objectives include assessing the environmental issues in the shrimp and fish aquaculture sectors and identifying environmental mitigation and management measures for these sectors. A gender-sensitive approach to value chain analysis has been introduced to maximize equitable returns, with women as the priority beneficiaries.