In Bangladesh, government officials have produced a plan which, they hope, will eventually enable the country to become an exporter of food.
In Bangladesh, government officials have produced a plan which, they hope, will eventually enable the country to become an exporter of food. The outline plan is an ambitious one -- at present bangladesh is probably the poorest and most crowded country in the world. Despite natural disasters, such as famines, floods and cyclones, food production actually increased last year. But Bangladesh still needs to import more than one million tons of food. One of the food industries vital to the economy is fishing.
SYNOPSIS: The onset of winter signals the start of the fishing season in Bangladesh. there is no country in Asia which has a greater abundance of fresh water fish -- a major source of food, second only to rice.
When food shortages occur, as they do almost every year, fish is relied on the compensate for the shortfall. For many families, the only means of survival is by fishing. Fortunately, in Bangladesh, there is hardly a pond, canal or river that does not contain at least a few of three country's more than two thousand varieties.
Despite such an abundance, Bangladesh has not been able to earn much from fishing exports.
Two years ago, fish to the value of ten million (U.S.) dollars (five million pounds) was exported to India, but since then all contracts have been suspended. The major reason for this was that exports on such a large scale created food scarcities in Bangladesh.
Another reason was that the export of fish encouraged smuggling. Officials in Dacca estimate that when exports were permitted, at least twice the amount of fish used to go across the border by illegal means. But, recently the government decided to boost foreign exchange earnings from the fishing industry in another way. Soon, a processing plant will be in operation and fish from Bangladesh will again cross the country's borders -- this time legally, and in cans.