Farmers have continued to produce crab fingerlings at low prices with the hope of exports resuming soon
Although crab exports continue to remain on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, crab farmers in and around Khulna are hoping for it to resume very soon.
The reason being, crab farmers bringing their latest catch to local markets aren’t getting the same price they did before, with export opportunities.
Salah Uddin Liton, a crab trader from Paikgachha in Khulna, said a meeting of the Crab Traders Association was held in Dhaka on August 27 to take a decision on whether to start exporting again.
The association contacted the commerce ministry in this regard and is preparing to take a final decision within a short time, he said.
He said farmers are not selling crabs in the local market at the moment, even though they are not exported either. As a result, the crab trade is at a standstill.
However, farmers have continued to produce crab fingerlings at low prices and production started before Eid with the hope of exports resuming.
Before exports stopped in the pandemic, crabs of different grades were sold at prices ranging from Tk300 to Tk1,000 per kg. However, there are no crabs on the market now, he added.
Uttam Kumar Sarkar of the same upazila said crab traders in Khulna and the Sundarbans are facing a crisis due to the closure of crab trade with China because of the ongoing pandemic.
Bidyut Kumar Ghosh, general secretary of the Paikgachha Crab Traders Cooperative Society, hoped that farmers and traders would recover the losses incurred during the pandemic as soon as exports resume.
Khulna District Fisheries Officer Abu Saeed said crabs are cultivated in 28,546 hectares in Khulna.
In the fiscal year 2018-19, 6,989 tons of crabs were produced in the region.
Despite a target of producing 7,000 tons of crabs in the fiscal year 2019-20, crab farming is in crisis due to the suspension of exports amid coronavirus restrictions.
He said there are crab markets in China, Taiwan, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia. Soft-shell crabs are exported to Australia and other crabs to other countries.
Farmers have increased production in the hope that crab exports will start soon in the face of changing global conditions, he added.