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Shakib’s crab farm in Satkhira grows local workforce, exports

  • Published at 01:11 am November 16th, 2019
Workers processing crabs at the farm located in Shyamnagar upazila, Satkhira Dhaka Tribune

The versatile sportsman, besides cricket, has proven to have a knack for business

The world’s best all-rounder Shakib al Hasan, alongside successfully illuminating cricket grounds, has also been helping grow a domestic workforce in Satkhira, and bringing in foreign currency via exports with an uncommon enterprise, a crab farm.

The versatile sportsman, besides cricket, has proven to have a knack for business. From restaurants to cafes, he has a keen interest in the sector, and owns several business enterprises.

Shakib’s crab farm sits on a 14-acre plot in Datinakhali area under Burigoalini union of Shyamnagar upazila. The farm started its operation with 30,000 boxes of crabs, which through specialized farming, has increased to 400,000. Now the farm employs 200 workers, who have contributed in exporting 400 tons of crabs to Australia, US, Germany, Britain, and Singapore, in the last two years.

Shakib Agro Farm Limited Supervisor Towfik Rahman, speaking to Dhaka Tribune, said: “Hearing about the ban on Shakib has saddened everyone here. Currently, the crab farm is closed. We operate for six months and the rest of the time, we excavate the ponds, and fix them to make them more efficient for crab farming.”

He furthered: “We collect crabs from the Sundarbans. They cannot be found in the Sundarbans in winter, in the next three months. Following that, there is an additional two-month entry-restriction. Hence, we are closed for six months, and we work in full force for the other six. Although the project was initiated four years ago, we became fully functional for the last three years.”

“Crabs weighing 80g to 120g are collected from Sundarbans. Crabs usually shed their shells in Sundarban’s rivers, but we cannot find those soft crabs. Which is why, we keep them in boxes in the farm. As soon as they shed their hard covers, we process them like fish and start packaging them for export. They are sold at high prices,” said Towfik.

When asked about the profit margin, he replied: “In business, there is both profit and loss. I do not want to comment on that. Even though Shakib made this 35 bigha [14 acre] farm, he did not visit the site till now.”

Rahim, Rasel, and Shahin, workers at Shakib Agro Farm, said they previously earned their livelihood by working as fishermen and woodworkers in the Sundarbans. But, after the establishment of the farm, they are able to work in a better environment and have been able to provide better for their families.

Burigoalini Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Bhabtosh Mondol said: “A few years ago, cricketer Shakib built a crab farm in my union. Around 100 daily wage labourers work there from my area. Shakib’s crab farm helped build a workforce here.”

He further added: “Shakib has not visited the farm yet, he planned to come. Meanwhile, the ICC put a ban on him, which is why he could not visit. It did not occur to any locals that crabs from Sundarbans could possibly be exported. Shakib did just that. Besides cricket, he is also a great businessman.”