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This assignment falls within the overall programme of the IDA World Bank Second Agricultural Research Project currently being executed as the FAO/UNDP technical assistance project BGD/83/010. The programme has three components: fisheries, forestry and livestock. The fisheries component is being implemented under the auspices of the Fisheries Research Institute of the Government of The People's Republic of Bangladesh.

The terms of reference for the consultancy assignment were defined by Euroconsult BV as follows:

  1. “Preparation of a research plan for the planned Brackishwater Fisheries Research Station (BFRS)* of the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI). The plan has to contain certain research projects in the fields of:

    • Reproduction and culture of brackishwater and freshwater shrimp, including farming systems development.
    • Survey of resources of shrimp.
    • (Re)production of other brackishwater species.
    • Feed and nutrition.
    • Health care.
    • Post-harvest technology.

  2. Preparation of detailed workplans for the researchers involved in the programme.

  3. Training of senior staff members by discussing in a number of sessions the technology and economics of various forms of shrimp farming (intensive, semi-intensive and extensive) in various parts of the world.

  4. Assistance in starting up the implementation of the shrimp research programme at the Brackishwater Fisheries Research Station (BFRS)* in Khulna, which was (originally) projected to be completed by mid-1987.

  5. Reporting: a report discussing the activities mentioned under 1–4 is to be submitted within two weeks of the end of the assignment by the shrimp specialist.”

* The Brackishwater Station (BS) was formerly designated the Brackishwater Fisheries Research Station (BFRS). The names of all the research stations have been simplified from those given in the Five Year Research Plan.

It was previously agreed with Euroconsult BV that the four month assignment of the shrimp specialist would be divided between two visits to Bangladesh: the first would commence in early April 1988 and last for approximately 2.5 months, whilst the second and concluding visit of about 1.5 months' duration would commence in March 1989.

Following discussions in Dhaka during the first half of the assignment, it was agreed that the second visit should, if feasible, be scheduled to coincide with the presence of as many as possible of the Project's specialist consultants in order to provide input for the revision of the Five Year Master Plan for the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI).

It is understood that the Project is likely to be extended for two years beyond the 30th June 1989, following the evaluation mission of Mr P Gonzalez-Alberdi of the FAO Fisheries Department's Operations Service (FIO) in June 1988.

The first part of the consultancy mission was completed during April-June 1988, the second part during March-May 1989. The actual periods spent on the assignment, including official travel days, are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Summary of the actual days spent on the consultancy assignment.

Periods Days
7 April - 6 May 1988Bangladesh30
7 - 13 May 1988Another assignment in UK0
14 - 21 May 1988Eid Al-Fitr8
22 May - 29 June 1988Bangladesh39
20 March - 3 May 1989Bangladesh45

Since the design and construction programme for the BS has been considerably delayed (see section 3 BRACKISHWATER STATION), it has been necessary to amend the original terms of reference for the assignment. In particular, greater emphasis has had to be placed on the supervision of the design of the BS, and the preparation of detailed room specifications for each of the specialised research areas and facilities, and the preparation of lists of: research equipment; chemicals and drugs; workshop equipment, tools and materials; and sources of live micro-organisms, Artemia cysts etc.

Professor John E Halver's short visit to Bangladesh during May 1988 was highly fortuitous, as it provided the opportunity to review the nutrition and diet testing facilities and equipment planned for the BS, and how these might be integrated within the overall nutrition research programme planned for the Freshwater Station (FS) at Mymensingh.

In order to accommodate the review of the engineers' design for the BS and the preparation of room specifications etc, the following additional item has been added to the original terms of reference for the asssignment:

  1. Preparation of specifications for the specialised laboratories and other facilities required at the BS in conjunction with Engineers Consortium Ltd on behalf of the FRI. Review of all plans and specifications for the BS prior to preparation of the final tender documents. Preparation of a list of research equipment, instruments and materials required for the BFRS, in conjunction with the local counterpart (Dr Aminullah Bhuiyan - Chief Scientific Officer of the BS), together with current cost estimates of research equipment for budgetary purposes.

    Preparation of lists of chemicals and general reagents, drugs and therapeutic chemicals, workshop tools and equipment, and materials required for the BS. Preparation of lists of potential suppliers and addresses for: research equipment and instruments, specialised materials, live micro-organism cultures and Artemia cysts.

By including this additional item in the terms of reference, the start on the preparation of the research programme and the individual research proposals (items 1 and 2) have been delayed until the second part of the assignment. It had been hoped that the construction of the BS would commence immediately after the monsoon season of 1988. Unfortunately there have been further problems concerning the acquisition of the land at Paikgacha and the detailed topographic and soils surveys have still not been completed.

A Ministerial visit to the site took place on the 1st April, 1989 and all remaining problems now appear to have been resolved. Possession of the site can proceed and the outstanding surveys be completed without further delay. Hopefully the final design and specifications, and the tendering procedures can be completed in time for the construction to start by September/October 1989.

Since the BS research facilities are unlikely to be available before 1991/92 at earliest, the individual research proposals (work plans) have been revised to include only those elements which are not dependent on the laboratory and pond facilities at Paikgacha. Since it is not possible at this stage to complete items 3 and 4 within the terms of reference, the second part of the assignment has been devoted to the prexaration of eight research proposals or work plans for the initial phase of the research programme of the BS.

Additional senior staff will need to be identified, recruited and trained prior to the completion of the BS. It is recommended that item 3 should be delayed until closer to the time that the BS is commissioned and the research programme implemented. Item 4 is premature at this stage and should wait until the BS has been built and the research and support staff recruited. Items 3 and 4 could therefore be usefully incorporated within the extension of the Project and implemented immediately before the commissioning of the BS. It has been recommended that these tasks should carried out by the expatriate brackishwater specialist to be assigned to the BS (see Anon, 1989).

Whenever possible metric units have been used throughout the text. APPENDIX A includes conversion factors for selected Bengali and metric units. A glossary of commonly used Bengali words relating to the shrimp farming industry is also provided in APPENDIX A. A complete list of all persons and their respective organisations met during the assignment is given in APPENDIX B, and a detailed itinerary for both parts of the assignment is provided in APPENDIX C.

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