Chalan Beel dried fish producers worried about supply shortage

Fish are seen drying in the sun in Mohishluti’s warehouse at Tarash upazila in Sirajganj. Although the dried fish has a good export value, production has been halved this year due to high input costs. The photo was taken recently. PHOTO: Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu

“>



Fish are seen drying in the sun in Mohishluti’s warehouse at Tarash upazila in Sirajganj. Although the dried fish has a good export value, production has been halved this year due to high input costs. The photo was taken recently. PHOTO: Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu

Dried fish producers in Chalan Beel, which span the districts of Pabna, Sirajganj and Natore, have been frustrated this year as their production levels have been cut in half due to high input costs against a backdrop of limited supply of local fish varieties.

About 47 rivers and other bodies of water flow into Chalan Beel, the largest static body of water in the northern region of Bangladesh, making it a favorable location for fish processing processes and exporters.

“I used to dry around 1.5 tonnes to 2 tonnes of fish a day, but now I don’t get more than a ton a day,” said Md Shukur Ali, a wholesaler based in Mohishluti market. of Sirajganj’s upazila Tarash.

About 200 to 250 maunds (one maund equals about 37 kilograms) of fish are processed each year for domestic and international markets at Mohishluti, one of the largest sources of
dried fish.

“Last year I produced 10 tonnes of dried fish which were sold in Indian markets, but this year I have no possibility of producing even four or five tonnes of dried fish,” Ali told the Daily Star.

Due to the lack of supply from Chalan Beel, dried fish producers are forced to buy fish at high prices from other regions.

“And due to soaring production costs, we are failing to capture the international market,” Ali added.

Dried fish producers mainly process local varieties of fish, the smallest of the barb species of the Cyprinidae family, called in Bengali “puti maach”, having a high demand in Indian markets.

“So, we have mainly produced dried puti to supply Indian markets in recent years, but due to limited supply from Chalan Beel, buyers in Sayedpur are reluctant to buy them at higher prices,” said Md Alom Ali Mollah, another dried fish. wholesaler.

Chalan Beel dried fish merchants supply their products to the Sayedpur upazila wholesale market, as many large merchants in the region export it to India.

But due to a limited supply of the main raw material, most processors have reduced their production.

“After suffering continuous losses, I am no longer producing dried fish this year,” said Md Nasir Uddin, a dried fish trader.

Uddin went on to say that the dried fish producers mainly operate from October to December, but the lack of rain during the monsoon this year has led to poor fish farming.

However, Md Abul Kalam Azad, the district fisheries officer, told the Daily Star that it was not a lack of production, but rather extensive marketing that caused a shortage of fish.

“Fish production in Chalan Beel has not suffered any adverse effects, instead fish farmers are selling their products in different markets across the country due to huge demand,” he said.

“In addition, due to international demand, there are many sheds established in different regions for making dried fish, so the fish market has developed,” Azad added.

Not only at the commercial level, several thousand small-scale fishermen in Chalan Beel and its adjacent areas produce dried fish in their households to sell the product in different districts during the winter, various sources said.

Comments are closed.