SUPPLY CHAIN DEVELOPMENT COMPONENT (SCDC) within
Phase 1 of the World Bank-funded
National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP)
for HORTEX FOUNDATION, BANGLADESH
Fish Expert: Nick Willoughby
The World Bank-funded National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) of Bangladesh is to support the government’s strategy of improving agricultural productivity and incomes amongst the country’s small and marginal farmers. The development objective of this first phase of the NATP is to improve the effectiveness of the national agricultural technology system in the country. The Supply Chain Development Component (SCDC), of which this input is a part, is one of four key components which are being implemented during the current 5 year period. SCDC was managed by HORTEX (Horticultural Export Foundation) which had not previously had any remit to consider fisheries activities. It is anticipated that the result of the inputs from SCDC will be to enhance agribusiness, economic growth and employment in the rural sector, and assist in reducing rural poverty.
Dr Nick Willoughby of the NRGroup was recruited as the International Fisheries Specialist for the work, and undertook a four month consultancy – reporting on one of the 10 disciplines identified within the project.
The consultant group employed within SCDC concentrated on 20 districts (upazilas), but only four of these were selected (by HORTEX) for fisheries issues. The role of the Fisheries Specialist was “to streamline the activities of fisheries related to post harvest management, preservation and marketing.” This included:
- Assessing the production, present market situation and future potential of the fishery sector in four selected Upazilas.
- Suggesting improvements in post-harvest management and preservation of fishes.
- Exploring the technology for maintaining freshness of sweet water fishes.
- Suggesting market interventions based on value chain analyses of selected fish species.
- Suggesting diversified fish products during the glut season of harvest.
- Imparting training to stakeholders on post-harvest management and marketing of fish.
The 3 key reports produced concerned:
- An Action Plan for Strengthening Freshwater Fisheries Activities;
- Value Chain Analysis Recommendations; and
- The development of a Training Module.
Approximately 28 technical recommendations for improvements and stream-lining of the fisheries sector were made, covering the activities of six different interest groups or areas of activity – the capture fisheries, culture fisheries, fish auctioneers, fish transporters, processors and wholesale/retail sellers. It was suggested that responsibilities for remedial actions were taken by the Department of Fisheries, HORTEX/SCDC and financial/credit institutions. Suggestions were also made regarding improved evaluation techniques for subsequent phases of the project, and solutions to logistical issues which would make consultancy inputs more effective.
The main value added by the Fisheries Specialist was taken to be his contribution to the value chain analyses. Several of these analyses had already been conducted by Bangladeshi scientists who had long time frames over which to work. All their analyses started from the production criteria – either capture or fish farm yields, rather than from customer interests. It was suggested that trials of fish products from imported fish farm species which did not contain irritating splint bones in the flesh (e.g Pangasiuscatfish or tilapia, which are grown in many fish farms) might have considerable potential. This could be marketed as bone-free fillets, first in local venues, such as hotels, later to expatriate Bangladeshi communities, and finally as a full export product – thus giving a long term developmental plan to the post-harvest marketing of freshwater fish products.