Md. Abu Kawsar : Coronavirus is found to be one of the most dangerous and disruptive disease so far in human histories. Coronavirus (COVID-19) are zoonotic which is a new strain of virus. On 8th December 2019, there was onset of symptoms in the first known case of pneumonia with unknown etiology in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On 7th January 2020, Chinese scientists identify the pathogen as a novel coronavirus. On 30th January 2020, WHO declared a “public health emergency of international concern”. In Bangladesh, 4689 cases were detected, 131 death and 112 recovered cases as of 24 April 2020.
Covid-19 Hits on Crab Industry
After the Covid-19 outbreak shutdown of exports, especially to China, has a devastating impact on the livelihood of half a million families along the Bay of Bengal coast. Although crab from Bangladesh are exported to Germany, Taiwan, Belgium, Britain, Japan, Netherlands and Australia but China is the main market for Crab which accounts around 85% of the export. Many crab farmers said that large quantities of crabs were usually sold during the Chinese New Year Celebration. But due to this year’s ban, many crabs have died already.
Kazi Mahabubul Alam Azad, Secretary of the Bangladesh Live Crab and Eel fish exporters Association estimated that the loss in this sector has reached BDT 4 billion (USD 46.90 million) already. Almost 500,000 farmers are unemployed currently in the crab industry; most of them are living below the poverty line.
As local consumption of crab is very low that’s why Bangladesh’s crab farmers are almost entirely dependents on exports. As a result price crash in domestic market from BDT 2,500 (USD 30) per kg, to BDT 800-900 (USD 9.40-10.50) per kg and even there is a lot of unsold stock.
Covid-19 Hits on Aquaculture
Low-income people hit by lockdown. According to business standard around 2.7 crore people self-employed now have no work. One crore day laboureres are more vulnerable. Moreover, during this shutdown a large number of low-income people become jobless and moved from cities to villages with no money in hands. The fisheries sector, which contributes 23 percent of agricultural production, is facing uncertainty under the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Due to low income demand for fish fell significantly specially for pangas and tilapia fish market. The business standard shows that transport cost hiked by 30 percent. Maximun fish farmer cannot sell mature fish because of low market demand and shortage of transport. No buyer is interested in buying more than 4 to 5 tonnes at a time. That’s why maximum matured fish remain unsold in pond and farmers has to spend extra money every day in buying feed for the fish.
Due to shortage and high costing of transport maximum fish hatchery remains close. Jashore meets 60 percent of the country’s demand for fish fry. In Jessore 28 out of 34 hatcheries were shut from March 28. They have been forced to keep all hatcheries closed in the peak season because of the countrywide shutdown. Mr. Ruhul Amin, Technical manager- Niribili monosex Tilapia hatchery, Cox’s bazar said that they meet up the local demand for tilapia fry but their hatchery remain closed and has to pay to their hatchery stuffs. Fish cultivation will also be disrupted due to shortage of aquaculture inputs such as lime, different chemicals, feeds etc Mr. Amin added. If the coronavirus crisis is prolonged, a large proportion of the fish farmer will face hard consequences.
- Health and Economic Risks of Corona Pandemic and Recommendations.
- Coronavirus destroys Bangladesh’s crab exports |The Third Pole.
- Coronavirus in Bangladesh: Bangladesh rural economy reels from shutdown | The Business Standard.
- Coronavirus outbreak: Khulna’s crab, eel trade losing Tk 4cr every day, The Daily Star.
Author: B.Sc Fisheries(Hon’s), MS in Aquaculture (SAU); Executive, Agrovet Division, SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.