A memorandum of understanding was signed on Sunday for promoting sustainable aquaculture development in Bangladesh.
The MoU was signed between the Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, and a Dutch-Bangladeshi consortium, jointly coordinated by Netherlands-based Larive International and LightCastle Partners, a Bangladeshi management consulting firm, said a press release.
KH Mahbubul Haque, director general of DoF, and Matthias J Brienen, director of Larive International, signed the MoU at the conference room of DoF on behalf of their respective sides.
The cooperation between the parties will support the implementation of the four-year-long FoodTechBangladesh project that aims to improve productivity of shrimp and fish hatcheries and farmers in the country through technology and knowledge transfer, capacity building, and demonstration of advanced hatching and farming practices.
Under the MoU, 75 DoF officials including field-level extension officers will receive capacity development training on advanced aquaculture technologies and farming methods.
The consortium will also collaborate with DoF to develop a training curriculum for providing technical assistance to 1600 shrimp and fish hatchery operators and farmers.
The collaboration will facilitate an enabling environment for joint investments and business activities between Dutch and Bangladeshi private sectors in aquaculture to enhance its competitiveness and growth, the release said.
Supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Bangladesh, three Centres of Excellence (demonstration farms) will be established in Sylhet, Khulna, and Cox’s Bazar under the FoodTechBangladesh project.
Those centres will focus on disseminating technologies and best practices to farmers for increasing shrimp and fish production in the country while ensuring international food safety standards.
Furthermore, the consortium will upgrade an aqua feed line in Dhaka to increase the availability of domestically produced specialized shrimp feed.
Addressing at the ceremony, DoF director general KH Mahbubul Haque said, ‘We are working on technological integration and automation to increase aquaculture production. Through this collaboration, we share the common goal of strengthening the technical capacity of our extension personnel and disseminating effective technologies and sustainable farming practices to our farmers’.
Emphasizing the potential impact of the Dutch-Bangladeshi partnership on sustainable aquaculture growth, Matthias Brienen, director of Larive International, said, ‘There is an opportunity to support the fish and shrimp hatchery operators and farmers in Bangladesh by transferring Dutch expertise and farming technologies. We look forward to working closely with DoF to develop capacity and enhance performance across the aquaculture value chain in Bangladesh’.
The signing ceremony was attended by Zahedul Amin, director, LightCastle Partners and other senior officials from DoF and representatives from Larive, LightCastle, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh.
FoodTechBangladesh project is conceptualized and led by Netherlands-based Larive International in close collaboration with its Bangladesh-based affiliate LightCastle Partners and the Netherlands Embassy in Dhaka.
The consortium also includes Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Ltd., Gemini Sea Food Ltd, Nutreco, and Viqon.
At present, 3.57 per cent of total GDP and 26.50 per cent of agricultural GDP comes from the fisheries sector. About two crore people in various ways are involved in this sector for their livelihood.