According to sources at the Commerce Ministry, 43,000 women of the coastal region will be made self-reliant by providing training and support for marketing their goods. The Tk277 crore worth project has been undertaken in August last
A large number of women have become self-reliant through crab cultivation in Barguna’s Patharghata upazila. Though Patharghata is known as a “kingdom of fish” in the coastal belt, the upazila is now a famous hub for crabs.
The number of crab farmers is increasing day by day as the crab cultivation has now become more profitable than fish and paddy.
According to sources at the Commerce Ministry, 43,000 women of the coastal region will be made self-reliant by providing training and support for marketing their goods. The Tk277 crore worth project has been undertaken in August last.
In recent years, 5,000 to 6,000 tons of crabs were exported to Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and China. The contributions of crab among the products which are playing an important role in Bangladesh’s export income are surging. From the economic outlook, among the exported fish resources, crab occupies the second place after shrimp.
Though the exact quantity of crab now cultivated in the country could not be determined, foreign currencies equivalent to Tk25 crore are earned annually from crab export.
Crabs based on the species breed in both fresh and salt water. However, freshwater crabs are small where as saltwater crabs are big in size. Of the total 15 crab species available in the country, four are of freshwater and 11 are of saltwater. Madcrab is the most commercially important crab and it is the biggest in size in comparison to other species.
The coastal women are being imparted different types of training like crab, vegetables and sesame farming and raising salinity tolerant nursery to help earn their livelihood.
Sudeepa Barman, 33, from West Kathaltali village under Kathaltali union of Patharghata upazila, spends most of her time of the day fishing for crabs.
The mother of two children said they have become interested in crab farming as it is more profitable than fish or paddy cultivation. A group of 30 people catch small crabs from rivers and canals from dawn to dusk every day and Sudeepa is often included in the team.
There are 150 farmers in Patharghata who are engaged in crab farming and fattening in advanced method and their main source of income is now crab cultivation. Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and local non-government organization “Sangram” are providing technical support to them.
After visiting different villages of Patharghata, it was seen that crab farming is very popular among the womenfolk. Two reasons are working behind this — firstly it is economically viable and secondly crabs could be gotten as a food within reach.
Local farmers said they used to cultivate paddy in the paddy season few years back. Before the cyclone ‘Sidr’, the farmers of the region used to cultivate single crop, but after the cyclone they cultivate crabs on double-cropped lands.
Crab farmer Ridhi Rani said they are earning livelihood through cultivating the crab. “We’re engaged in crab farming business for five years,” she said.
She continued on saying: “I and my husband are cultivating crabs on one acre land, but the middlemen are benefiting more than us, as we cannot market it directly.”
A number of crab farmers said crab farming will further develop if the local farmers can manage loan from the banks in more lenient terms.
Non-government organization Sangram’s Value Change Facilitator Giyas Uddin said there are 150 crab farmers in Patharghata upazila. “We are providing free consultations to various farmers in the upazila, and alongside the technical support, we are also providing loan at a low interest rate,” he said.
Giyas Uddin added: “The aim of our project is to motivate and educate at least a thousand people to take up the much profitable crab cultivation business.”