Rising fuel prices add to woes for fish traders
NAZIMUDDIN SHYAMOL |
Nov. 16, 2021, 10:42 a.m.
Nov. 17, 2021, 10:35 p.m.
The rise in fuel prices has worsened the suffering of fish farmers and fishmongers in Chattogram, already hard hit financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wholesalers from Chattogram’s Fishery Ghat told FE that the rise in the price of diesel has caused extreme damage to their business, as the cost of running fishing trawlers, various modes of transporting fish including trucks, and the ice used to preserve fish have increased dramatically as a result of the price of fuel. raise.
They said a series of nationwide public holidays and non-stop closures induced by a pandemic recently reduced demand for fish as well as its price, causing untold suffering for fishermen. Adding to the woes, the rise in the price of diesel by 15 Tk per liter has caused further damage to the fish trade, especially in Fishery Ghat, the largest fish wholesale center in the south-eastern region of the country. .
This demand for marine and freshwater fish has declined in Fishery Ghat due to increased transportation costs after the government raised the prices of diesel and kerosene late last month as the prices of the fuel drives the prices of other goods and services.
Market watchers said the Energy Department’s decision had a huge impact on the cost of collecting fish in the bay as well as fishing by motorized boats and trawlers in Kaptai Lake and rivers.
The fishmongers face enormous losses as the journey of a trawler in the bay or the mouths of rivers has increased by at least 5,000 Tk.
Now, a trawler charges at least Tk 50,000 for each trip, as diesel and kerosene prices have risen to Tk 80 per liter from Tk 65 previously, Fishery Ghat wholesalers said.
Speaking to The Financial Express, the wholesalers said, “Fishery Ghat’s business has been down 50% in the past two weeks following the rise in fuel prices. The supply of and demand for fish has declined sharply following the rise in fuel prices. We are facing problems in running business at Fishery Ghat as we have to pay at least 50,000 Tk and sometimes more than that to a fishing trawler for each trip. “
According to some sources, traders from different parts of the country gathered every morning at Fishery Ghat to source seafood and freshwater fish. The hour of the fish trade continued until noon, early in the morning, every day. But now the trading hour has been reduced as a result of the decrease in demand for fish.
There are a total of 103 wholesale centers (Aroths, as the locals call it) at Fishery Ghat. At least 200 wholesalers and over 5,000 workers were engaged in the fish trade and related activities every day before the fuel price hike. All traders are members of the Sonali Fishing Cooperative Society.
Market insiders said the total transaction at Fishery Ghat was Tk 3.0 billion (Tk 300 crore) every day. But now the daily transaction is only Tk 2.0 billion (Tk 200 crore), they said.
Speaking to FE on Monday, Abul Kalam, a Fishery Ghat wholesaler said, “The fishing business is very boring now. Now the fishermen do not provide a large amount of fish like they used to. In addition, the cost of fish supplied to Fishery Ghat and the cost of transporting fish increased after fuel prices increased. “
Aminul Haque Babul, general secretary of the Sonali Fishing Cooperative Society, said: “Fish traders have been suffering since last year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many fish traders took out bank loans and reinvested in fishing activities after the national lockdown was lifted. But now, The increase in the rent of the fishing trawler to 50,000 Tk per trip has resulted in further losses in our business. The fish traders here are even struggling to meet the expenses of their families, let alone continue the business after paying off loan installments, ”he said.
Another leader of the fishmongers’ society said the business is getting bored every day amid declining supply and demand. Fishermen are consuming less fish now than in the previous period.
“Traders are suffering a lot to cover their trading costs now,” he said, adding that “the transaction at Fishery Ghat earlier was over Tk 300 crore per day, which is now less than Tk 200 crore. “
He urged the government to help fishermen and fishmongers by reducing the price of fuel to its previous level.