Russian shrimp ban may go
Published: 2014-02-25 18:56:02.0 BdST Updated: 2014-02-25 18:56:02.0 BdST
The government has initiated moves to clear the way for resumption of shrimp exports to Russia, Fisheries and Livestock Minister Mohammad Sayedul Haque has said.
Haque said Russia wanted quality shrimps from Bangladesh and not those usually infected during the summer.
Infected consignments had led to the suspension of shrimp exports to Russia in October last year.
Russia, one of the potential markets for Bangladeshi frozen foods, clamped a temporary ban on shrimp import in October since the consignments had failed to meet microbiological standards, depriving the country of sizeable export earnings.
“The Russian envoy has urged us to send a formal letter to have the restriction withdrawn. We’ll send the letter on Thursday. We hope the complication will be resolved soon,” the minister said.
He said that the envoy had promised to help in every way.
Four Bangladeshi companies – Bagerhat Sea Food Ltd, Fresh Foods Ltd, Apex Food Ltd and ARK Sea Food Ltd – had been approved for shrimp exports to the Russian Federation by the country's Department of Federal Service for Phytosanitary Surveillance in September 2009.
Bangladesh had also signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Russia’s Fisheries Department on December 23, 2009 for frozen food export.
However, Russia imposed a ban in October last on the four Bangladeshi shrimp exporters for failing to meet microbiological standards.
It withdrew the temporary ban on Bagerhat Sea Food Ltd on February 6 this year, paving the way for the resumption of shrimp export to that country.
The Fisheries Minister said that most countries follow the standards of ICMSF (International Commission for Microbiological Standards for Food) and International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) relating to bacterial load while importing frozen food. “But being a cold country, Russia follows its own standards.”
Sayedul Haque said that Bangladesh exports 80,000 metric tonnes of frozen food annually to different countries. Shrimps account for over 50,000 metric tonnes.
Bangladesh exported 1416 metric tonnes of frozen food to Russia in the current 2013-2014 fiscal.
The frozen food sector, already hit hard because of the recent political turmoil, would face another blow if Russia extends the restriction.
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