Though crab exports remain paused due to coronavirus pandemic, farmers in and around Khulna are hopeful of a resumption being just around the corner.
As a result they are waiting for the resumption, rather than bringing their latest catch to the local markets where they can never get the same price as they get from exporting.
Crab farmers hope that crab export will start soon.
Salah Uddin Liton, a crab trader from Paikgachha in Khulna, said a meeting was held in Dhaka on August 27 on behalf of the Crab Traders Association.
The meeting decided to make preparations to start exporting again in a short time.
The association contacted the 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 trade of crabs is completely stopped now.
However, farmers have continued to produce crab fry at low prices.
Production started before Eid in the hope of starting exports.
Before the export was stopped, crabs of different grades were sold at prices ranging from Tk 300 to 1,000. However, there are no crabs on the market now, he added.
Uttam Kumar Sarkar of Paikgachha said crab traders in Khulna and the Sundarbans are facing a crisis due to the closure of crab trade in China.
Due to this situation, traders are not selling crabs in the local market. However, farmers have insisted on production in the hope that exports may start from next month.
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 of land in Khulna.
In the 2018-19 financial year, 6,989 metric tons of crabs were produced in the region.
Despite the target of producing 7,000 metric tons of crabs in the 2019-20 fiscal year, crab farming is in crisis due to the suspension of exports amid coronavirus restriction.
He said there are crab markets in China, Taiwan, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia. Soft-shelled crabs are exported to Australia and normal 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.