Bangladesh Govt to introduce commercial farming of pearl across country

The government’s dream of earning foreign currency through exporting pearl is going to be true as it has initiated a process of introducing large-scale commercial farming of the natural gem across the country, sources said.According to them, if every thing goes accordingly, pearl is expected to emerge as a new potential item of the country’s export basket soon. “We have already purchased 424 big-sized high pearl-producing mussels from Vietnam – a country famous for producing quality pearls,” said Anisur Rahman, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock told The New Nation on Tuesday. Rahman said there are many water bodies across the country, including canals, ponds, haors and rivers where farmers can cultivate pearls commercially.A five-member high-profile delegation, led by Fisheries and Livestock Minister Muhammed Sayedul Hoque, visited Vietnam from March 15 to 20 this year to discuss the prospect of pearl farming in Bangladesh. During the visit, the Bangladesh delegation had a bilateral meeting with Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam Cao Duc Phat. The Vietnamese minister assured Bangladesh of providing technical support as well as high pearl-yielding variety of mussel to help start pearl cultivation.”For years, Vietnam has been cultivating pearl commercially in freshwater from the mussels that are bigger in size. We’re getting those here”, said Yahhia Mahmud, Chairman of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI). He said the mussels that “we have bought from Vietnam are now at the breeding stage” in the hatchery located in Mymensingh. In 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries when Vietnam gave assurances of providing support for pearl farming. Encouraged by the success in China, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and India in pearl cultivation, Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina earlier directed the authorities concerned to take initiatives for pearl farming in Bangladesh. Following the PM’s directive, BFRI launched a five-year development project in July 2012 to identify sustainable technology and process of pearl farming. The Taka 1562-crore project will continue till the end of June, 2017. BFRI also conducted a survey across the country and identified five species of freshwater mussels, of which two species are high-yielding ones. The BFRI scientists found a method to produce 10-12 pearls of 3-5 mm radius from a mussel.”Our experimental works have been done in the meantime, we will soon introduce the precious item among the farmers. We hope commercial farming of pearl will open new door of export earning for the country,” a high official of BFRI said preferring anonymity.

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