Black tiger shrimps, locally known as Bagda, have seen their prices slump, handing losses to thousands of farmers in the southwestern region, the main belt of export-oriented shrimp and prawns in Bangladesh.
The price has declined by as much as Tk 700 per kilogramme over the last one month in the face of declining demand in the major markets in the West for higher inflation and the growing fear of recession, said farmers and shrimp processors and exporters.
Frozen shrimp exporters are now buying and storing them at a lower price. However, owing to strong demand in the local market, the price of small-size shrimp is comparatively high.
Shrimp cultivation has been the only source of income for tens of thousands of farmers in Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat for years.
Saltwater shrimp farming started commercially in Khulna in the 1980s. As high as 90 per cent of the shrimp produced in the region are exported to 32 countries.
After the improvement in the coronavirus pandemic at home and abroad, farmers had hoped to recoup the losses, but the current low prices driven by a fall in consumption in the export markets have shattered their hopes.
The industry now faces a challenging situation due to various reasons, including natural calamities and the increase in the price of fish feed and fish fry.
Farmers in Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat say buyers are reluctant to visit shrimp enclosures to make purchases directly from local fishermen although they used to do so in the past. So, fishermen are trying to bring shrimps to the markets in the district town and the doors of frozen food companies.
Many farmers have been compelled to sell at a low price in the local market in a bid to narrow losses.
At least five businessmen told The Daily Star that they were not buying shrimps now.