Building trade capacity of small-scale shrimp and prawn farmers in Bangladesh

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Building trade capacity of small-scale shrimp and prawn farmers in Bangladesh

The key objective of this project is for small-scale shrimp producers to improve compliance with international SPS measures in order to increase market access. The project will strengthen the concept of good aquaculture practices (GAPs) and better management practices (BMPs) in shrimp aquaculture, and establish cluster management to accomplish responsible and sustainable farming.


Aquaculture is widely considered to make important contributions in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of poverty reduction and food security and can be a source of wealth creation. Aquatic animal products have become the most traded food commodity from developing countries. As more and more aquatic products are traded globally, international standards have been introduced to protect consumer health and the environment. In order to access and maintain export markets, producers need to apply appropriate controls and practices to ensure that their product meets relevant international standards.

The majority of shrimp products for export come from small-scale farmers who are unorganized, uninformed and vulnerable. Individually they do not have the capacity to implement good bio-security measures and better management practices to keep pathogens/diseases away from their production systems. This situation forces them to find quick-fix solutions, mainly based on therapy and antimicrobial treatment. As a consequence, residues of banned antimicrobials and other substances accumulate in the shrimp and prawn products and risk rejection at importing country borders, resulting in lost revenue. The problem is aggravated by long non-value-adding product chains with alleged adulterations. This project will address the problem at the grass-roots level, exploring the reasons for disease incidents in shrimp farming, applying better management practices to minimise them, and thus reducing the use of antimicrobials and other therapeutic agents for internationally traded shrimp and prawn products. Lessons learned from previous experiences in Indonesia and India on establishing cluster farming and implementing BMPs/GSPs will be adapted to conditions in Bangladesh.

Expected Results 

Detailed value chain analysis

The project will assess the existing value chains in the sector. The farm to fork analysis will include buyers and retailers of shrimp and prawn products from small-scale farmers, and will address SPS risks associated with food safety and animal health as well as environmental and social issues.

Creation of registered clusters of small-scale shrimp and prawn farmers

The beneficiaries will be selected during the implementation phase by the Department of Fisheries in consultation with FAO, WF and BSFF and other stakeholders by using a set of criteria focusing on farmer's needs and educational, economic and social status, the farming systems currently being practised, the ability to learn and understand better management practices and willingness to be a member of a team. The criteria will also ensure that gender and child labour issues are addressed in the selection of beneficiaries. A total of 40 farming clusters involving around 1000 small-scale farmers will be organised into registered clusters.

Development and application of better management practices (BMP/GAPs) in shrimp and prawn aquaculture

The project will aim to reduce the risks of diseases and malpractices by using BMPs/GAPS. These BMP/GAPs complement FAO's Aquaculture Certification Guidelines, FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and the Bangladesh National Code of Conduct on Responsible Aquaculture. The application of these BMP/GAPs will help in producing shrimp and prawn products that comply with national food safety and animal health standards (Codex and OIE) and other aquaculture certification standards including those of private certifiers.

Farming clusters will be provided need-based technical training to apply BMP/GAPs at their farms and throughout the supply chain and will be connected with international buyers to deliver safe seafood products.  The national authorities will also be trained to gain skills to monitor and assist small-scale farm cluster management activities. The DOF PCR labs will be equipped and improved for full testing capacity.

Development and operationalization of a traceability system

An innovative semi-web based practical traceability system from (cluster to processing) will be framed with logical components of the system localised to the needs of the small-farmers clusters in Bangladesh. This will be developed jointly with BSFF, DoF and WF, and will be hosted and operated by DoF and/or other partners. This will improve the capacity of the value chain actors for attaining third party certifications ensuring better price for farmers and SPS safety for consumers as well. 

Dissemination of project results and lessons learned

Project results and lessons learned will be disseminated at national and regional level through printed materials, virtual information, a national scaling up strategy, and a project terminal workshop attended by government officials of other countries in the region and the private sector.

Reference Number 
Project Value (US$) 
STDF Contribution (US$)  
Implementing Entities 
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF)
Department of Fisheries (DOF) in Bangladesh
WorldFish (WF)