Speakers at a webinar urged Dutch entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh's aquaculture sector for steady growth and diversification during Covid-19 pandemic situation.
They were addressing the webinar titled "Opportunities in the Aquaculture sector in Bangladesh" held on Wednesday to disseminate the findings of a study done by Larive International and LightCastle Partners.
Harry Verweij, Netherlands ambassador to Bangladesh, and M Riaz Hamidullah, Bangladesh ambassador to the Netherlands, spoke on the occasion, said a press release.
Addressing the programme, M Riaz Hamidullah said: "Time is indeed ripe for the Dutch entrepreneurs to engage in Bangladesh as we strive to scale higher as a key aquaculture powerhouse."
The study presented opportunities for Dutch entrepreneurs in the aquaculture sector ranging from facilitating training programs, setting quality and regulatory protocols, expanding use of improved technology, and technical assistance in the identification and prevention of diseases.
It also identified a lack of quality seeds, poor animal health, and low availability of high-quality feed, post-harvest loss and less-developed cold chain facilities among some of the critical bottlenecks of the sector.
Larive International, on behalf of the Netherlands Embassy in Dhaka, and LightCastle Partners, Bangladesh have jointly conducted the study.
The study projected the per capita fish consumption of Bangladesh to grow to 23.1 kilogram per day by 2025 from 21.8 kg per day in 2019, facilitated by a projected growth in fisheries production to 5.67 million tonnes by 2024, signifying an annual production growth of 5.2%.
But Covid-19 has badly affected the fisheries sector, increasing its consumption and hiking prices of fish feed drastically. Farms faced increased loss due to delayed harvest, volatile markets due to repercussions of supply chain disruption, increase of local demand, plummets of shrimp export and price hike of seeds, the study said, calling for taking necessary steps.
Dutch entrepreneurs can also support the sector's growth by investing in agro-logistics, building cold chain solutions, and strengthening capacity throughout the value chain by providing technological, business development, and knowledge-sharing support, according to the study report.
The study outcome will help match and connect Bangladeshi and Dutch partners to act upon the study's recommendations and jointly address the sector bottlenecks to achieve the full potential of Bangladesh's aquaculture sector, speakers said.