The government has started the work to establish a global standard dried fish processing industry at Khurushkul in Cox's Bazar at a cost of Tk 2.0 billion.
Once the project is completed, above 14,000 tonnes of dried fish could be processed annually, said insiders.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister S M Rezaul Karim inaugurated the work of the office building of the project, being implemented by the Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (BFDC), in Cox's Bazar on Saturday.
The minister said that the government would extend all possible assistance to fishermen and the fishing sector as part of making the country self-sufficient in protein.
The move to build a modern dried fish processing industry is part of the government commitment, the minister further said.
He said the project could help boost dried fish exports notably, thus raising the number of jobs and income of thousands of people.
The government will extend the tax exemptions facility for the businesses which will import machinery as well as take initiatives for setting up such industry in the country, the minister told the event.
BFDC Chairman Mohammad Hemayet Hussain presided over the inauguration ceremony, while lawmaker Zafar Alam, Secretary to the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Muhammad Yamin Chowdhury, and Additional Secretary Md Taufiqul Arif spoke on the occasion.
Also present at the event were Director General of the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute Dr Yahia Mahmud, Director General of the Department of Fisheries Kha Mahbubul Haque, Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Mamunur Rahman, and Cox's Bazar Municipality Mayor Mojibur Rahman.
Project Director Md Sumsuzzaman said above 4,500 people related to fishing and dried fish trade would directly be benefited by the project as more than 14,000 tonnes of dried fish could be processed at the hub.
Fish are now being dried in traditional ways in many areas, including the key dried fish hub at Nazirtek in Cox's Bazar.
All the people related to dried fish processing at Nazirtek will be shifted to Khurushkul after completion of the project, said Mr Sumsuzzaman.
At present, according to Mr Sumsuzzaman, local traders export 2,400-2,500 tonnes of dried fish annually - this can be increased notably with the beginning of the dried fish processing project at Khurushkul.
As per the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), shipment from dried fish was worth US$10 million in the financial year 2020-21.
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