Upgrading pangas and tilapia value chains in Bangladesh

Project summary

Growth in aquaculture is important because it can help alleviate poverty by providing food and creating jobs in Bangladesh. The purpose is to promote green growth in freshwater pangas/tilapia aquaculture by providing knowledge on how to improve water quality and farm management and exploit the market potential for farmed fish through value chains functioning. Focus is on water quality since pangas/tilapia might include contaminants, offflavors and be a bit yellow, not white, as preferred by the consumers at export markets.
Farm management, governance of value chains, knowledge on domestic/ international markets and on fish quality can improve the basis for sustainable growth, increase value added and prepare the sector for export, thereby providing livelihood for locals and foreign exchange. Knowledge is increased through senior research cooperation and by educating PhDs. Research questions are: To what extent are fish-depleting microorganisms, arsenic, lead and pesticides of economic importance? Can they be reduced? Do water quality initiatives pay? Who are the main actors in the value chain? What are the major bottlenecks? How are prices formed? How much are consumers willing to pay for improved quality of fish? Can chains be upgraded through governance, water and fish quality and export focus? The foundation is value chain analysis, economic optimization, applied economics and environmental science. The knowledge provided forms basis for assessing governance and firm management. It will be disseminated to actors in the chains.


Project completion report
A broad knowledge has been created revealed by many articles. A high water quality is most important for successful aquaculture. Fish farming stimulate microbial growth in fish farms due to feeding, fecal matter, fish debris and N/P excretion. The nutrients may reduce oxygen and cause growth of bacteria producing off-flavors compounds. Compromised water quality increase mortality, reduce growth and induce diseases. Toxic metals in the environment affect water quality. Biological/chemical approaches were applied.
Large quantities of pangasius/tilapia is produced and sold to domestic consumers at low quality, while export is non-existent. Governance, markets and quality were analyzed and it was found that (i) domestic consumers are willing to pay for quality, (ii) a substantial demand for safe, high quality fish prevails internationally, (iii) the main reason for lack of export is low quality and (iv) value chains works well, except between feed sellers/farmers, due to trade credits. Value chains can be upgraded by improving quality.
Aquaculture show increasing production and knowledge on farm economics and farm management is important for development. The results show that (i) farms can improve productivity if they could learn from the best farmer (ii) farmers could obtain better results if producers and input providers are located together (iii) environmental conditions should be taken into account for future planning when expanding the sector (iv) farm management and farmers abilities should be strengthen trough extension services.

1. Data and samples have been collected/analyzed.
2. Capacity building is revealed by that the Theses of the PhD students are currently under
assessment or close to submission and all are expected to pass, close senior/WP leader
collaboration and shared arrangements.
3. 15 articles published in int refereed journals, 4 invited for resubmission/resubmitted, 10
submitted, 9 close to ready. Totally 38. 3 published in nat. refereed journals.

1. The Theses of 2 PhD students are under assessment, 2 expected submitted 15 September and 2 in November and must be defended afterwards. 5 enrolled in double degrees, one in single degree. All expected to pass.
2. Start Conference held in Dhaka 28/5-2/6 2015, including a stakeholder meeting. Final meeting in Bangladesh in January 2020, including the Final Stakeholder Conference 18/1 2020 with 300 participants, including the Minister.
3. The Mid-term Stakeholder meeting held in Mymensingh 12/11 2018.
4. 5 PhD courses/workshops held in 2016-17. At 23/10 2018 the workshop “Sustainable Fish Health Control” were held at University of Copenhagen.
5. This is the final report, the Final Scientific Reports are available from each WP at http://bangfish.org/activities/.
6. Three policy briefs have been published.

Go back to all projects