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Bangladesh govt bans fish export
Publication Date : 01-08-2012
The government of Bangladesh yesterday slapped a ban on export of all kinds of white fish, except for prawns, to keep prices of the protein-rich food at tolerable levels.
The ban will remain in force until further orders, said M.A. Sabur, chief controller of imports and exports. His office issued a notice imposing the ban following directives from the commerce ministry.
The move comes after the country's apex trade body Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) urged the government to ban the exports to curb the price spiral of white fish, including Hilsa, during Ramadan, the fasting month on Arabian calender.
According to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM), prices of white fish rose sharply in the last one month in Dhaka and Chittagong.
Hilsa was selling at 750-900 taka (US$9-11) per kilogram in the capital yesterday, a 10 per cent surge from a month ago (650-850 taka).
The prices, however, were 50 per cent higher than a year ago.
Prices of Pangash and Ruhi soared by 37 per cent and 15 per cent respectively in the same period, shows the DAM data.
The government did not clarify the measures for the exporters who have already received orders from foreign buyers and taken steps to ship fish.
Protesting the ban, Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) said it would hamper the country's exports earnings.
BFEEA President Kazi Shahnewaz said the government had not consulted them about the ban.
In a letter to the commerce ministry yesterday, the association said the negligible quantity of fish exports did not affect prices in the local market.
It rather pinned the blame for the rise in prices of fish feed, transport costs, extortion and high taxes on commercial fish farming.
The BFEEA also criticised the tendency of a section of fish traders to increase prices during Ramadan.
“There is ample supply of fish in the market now. Under these circumstances, the ban on exports of low quantity of fish will affect the export earnings," said the letter singed by the BFEEA president.
Excluding shrimp, frozen fish exports rose to 19,000 tonnes in the 2011-12 fiscal year from 16,743 tonnes a year earlier, according to BFFEA statistics.
About 20,000 tonnes of white fish are exported every year, which is less than one per cent of total annual production.
Fish exports fetch the country 10-12 billion taka a year.
(1 taka = $0.0122)