Crab farming is gaining popularity in the Sundarbans coastal areas as crabs are less susceptible to diseases and they yield high profit. Crabs are the new money-making crustaceans and in the last fiscal year they were sent to seven countries.
Though shrimps are still the biggest foreign currency earner and the export volume of frozen shrimp from the coastal belt rose to $150 million in last six months, earnings from crab farming also rising.
Export earnings from the crab sector in the last five months stood at nearly $2.68 million.
Farmers of 13 upazilas adjacent to the Sundarbans basically grow shrimps. However, there is a growing trend of switching to crab farming and those who met with success are all set to carry on with crab farming.
Crab farmers said that crab fingerlings grow to export size by three months. They also have a greater chance of survival since they do not die out in heat or cold waves. Apart from this, per kilogram of crab can be sold at Tk1,000-1,200 while shrimp prices fluctuate between Tk700 to Tk800.
These factors are encouraging farmers at the coastal upazilas, including the areas adjacent to the Sundarbans Dacope, Batiaghata, Dumuria, Paikgacha, Koyra, Rampal, Mongla, Bagerhat sadar and Shyamnagar to take up crab farming.
Khulna Export Promotion Bureau sources said that crabs worth around $2.68 million were exported in the last six months.
Local exporter Sheikh Wahiduzzaman Labu said his farm is responsible for sending 10 tonnes of crabs per day to Dhaka for export. Bangladeshi crabs are popular in China and Taiwan.
Bagerhat fisheries officee Dr Khaled Kanak said crabs were cultivated on as much as 600 hectares of land in Bagerhat, Rampal and Mongla in the last fiscal year. A total of 2,629 tonnes of crabs were yielded from local rivers and farms during the period.
As much as 28,54 hectares of land in Koyra, Paikgacha, Dumuria, Dacope and Batiaghata upazila came under crab farming in the last fiscal year.
Satkhira fisheries officer Moshiur Rahman said crab farmers collect the fingerlings from local rivers. Meantime, two crab-processing farms – Farid Nine Emporium Group and cricket Shakib Al Hasan's Shakib Agro Farm – have been established in Shyamnagar.