This affects the entire value chain of farmed fish
YASIR VARDAD |
20 Sep 2022 08:41:54
Sep 20 2022 11:51:19
Production of pangas, one of the relatively cheaper main sources of protein, has seen a marked decline in the last five years, causing concern among the poor.
According to the Annual Book of Fisheries Statistics published by the Department of Fisheries (DoF), it fell by 21 percent to 0.402 million tonnes in FY21 from 0.51 million tonnes.
Production could fall further in FY22, insiders said, but this has not yet been documented by the DoF.
However, the crop shortage affected the overall cultured fisheries market as it increased fish prices by 30 to 35 percent within a year.
On Monday, cultured pangas were selling at Tk 180-220, tilapia at Tk 230-260 and Tk 250-300 depending on their size in the city retail markets.
Nasim Sarker, fishery entrepreneur of Singra in Natore, told FE that most of the pond owners have refrained from raising pangas or reduced their cultivation area in the wake of two consecutive years of sharp decline in demand in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.
According to him, in March-July 2020, farm level prices have come down to Tk 55-60 due to blockade against cost of production of Tk 90 per kg and more than 2.0 billion to 2500 fish farmers in Singra upazila. damaged. .
He said that the same thing happened in 2021, which prevented them from producing panga on a large scale.
Pabda, gulsha, rui and katla cultivation are replacing pangas, though their total production is much lower than that of pangas.
“We can make at least 10 percent profit from such high-priced fish,” he said, adding that none of his 70-hectare ponds are now dedicated to pangas farming.
Trishala investor Md Kabir Ahmed Chowdhury in Mymensigh said he had to stop farming in his 35 large ponds due to rising fodder prices and falling panga prices.
It has invested a total of Tk 8.2 million between 2018 and 2020, including Tk 0.9 million for land lease, Tk 0.6 million for fish fry and Tk 5.9 million for fish feed and other variables. said he was able to recover only Tk 6.0 million from the investment.
He said pond owners have not received any incentives or compensation for their losses during the pandemic.
Md Abdul Awal, owner of another fish pond in Natore, said feed prices have played a major role in reducing panga production and other cultured fish farming.
“You couldn’t get a kg of fodder for less than Tk 68, which was almost Tk 35 a year ago,” he said.
According to him, pangas weighing 1300-1400 grams would eat two kg of feed in 90-100 days, now it was difficult to sell a kilo for 110 lira.
He said Rui has been selling at Tk 275-288 per kg in ponds in my area for the past one month.
Value chain expert Professor Golam Hafeez Kennedy said cultured fisheries markets are witnessing the same experience in 2020 and 2021 amid many farm closures during pandemic-induced lockdowns.
Closed farms could hardly be opened, and those that existed began to avoid raising pangas or tilapia due to low profit.
He said the poor will be the last to suffer as they have seen their incomes drop significantly over the past two-and-a-half years due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
According to him, the decline in production of panga and tilapia, which account for 18 percent (4.6 million tons) of the country’s total fish production, will directly affect millions of people who consider them a cheaper source of protein.
Research should be done to improve the taste and quality of panga and other cultured fish to obtain better yields, he said.
Senior Researcher of Bangladesh Fish Research Institute Dr. Md Zulfikar Ali said that the institute does not know that panga production has decreased in the last half decade.
He said the high cost of feed could be one of the main reasons for the decline of pangas, as the profit margin in the case of fish is usually low.
When asked, he said that he had no research on the pangas in his hands.
Contacted DoF director (inland fisheries) Shamim Ara Begum told FE that the department is working to identify the exact reasons behind the decline in production.
Bangladesh produced 4.6 million tonnes of fish in FY21 and pangas accounted for about 8.7 percent.