Blow for Bangladesh's feminine crab farmers due to Covid stops exports

12 Sep 2020 10:34 AM
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Female crab farmers on Bangladesh are actually struggling to feed their own families just after exports to China collapsed because of Covid-19, a charity has warned.

Regardless of the crab harvesting time of year being completely swing in Mongla, southern Bangladesh, continued lockdown over the nation and the closure of lucrative external markets have impacted not merely farmers’ livelihoods but also the country’s GDP, which relies heavily on the $43m (£33m) crab export industry, in line with the charity Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

“With exporters in Dhaka observing reduced demand from profitable markets in China, it’s likely that whenever schools reopen in Bangladesh children will be unable to go to school and households will continue steadily to suffer,” said VSO’s project lead, Shafiqur Rahman, who has been helping a cooperative of 358 feminine farmers export crabs to live markets in China and south-east Asia, and also to frozen crab markets in Europe.

The VSO cooperative project saw the ladies receive the average yearly income of around £580, 18% higher than the common for low-skilled personnel in the united states, says the charity. “It has proved that ladies can contribute equally to society giving them usage of finance, export market segments and technology,” stated Rahman.

Sathi Das, who started crab farming in 2014 and today network marketing leads the women’s crab farming cooperative, said the closure in February of the Dhaka crab industry - where Chinese buyers usually buy crab in bulk - has manufactured her fearful on her behalf family’s future.

“I have no cost savings. I offered all my possessions to keep carefully the family going, nonetheless it still wasn’t plenty of,” she said.

“My husband’s business can be struggling and we’re today both unable to put food up for grabs. We borrow funds from our neighbours. I’m uncertain when and how we’re likely to be able to pay off our debts. It’s a very uncertain and challenging period for us.”

Although Das and others can sell crab to local markets, lack of demand has seen the purchase price drop by 80%, from 1,000 taka (£9) a kilo to 200, she said. Regardless of the upcoming mid-autumn event in China - when crab is normally consumed within the festivities - you may still find no signals from exporters in Dhaka that the marketplace will reopen any moment in the future, said Rahman.

As a result, feminine farmers have returned to breeding white seafood and shrimp in the same pond as they were breeding crab, a far more laborious procedure with lower market prices, says VSO. The farmers are also damaged by high tides due to Cyclone Amphan, which flooded the fish farms and ruined the crops.

Das said she missed being financially independent and able to support her family.

“Mongla is very a conservative contemporary society, which prevents women from performing and earning money by themselves. Life was ordinarily a struggle for me. I am hoping that we can start our crab business once again soon and be able to return to how points were before the pandemic.”