According to a recent international study, nationwide lockdown has reduced aquaculture productivity throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.
Surveys as part of the study show that pandemic has made farm operating costs surge while squeezing profit margins for the farmers, reports the Fish Site.
The study, titled "Impacts of COVID-19 on the finfish aquaculture industry of Bangladesh: A case study" showed that the pandemic has also made existing inequalities in the supply chain more deeply entrenched.
To understand the full impact of Covid-19 on Bangladesh's finfish farmers, the researchers conducted two online surveys in Mymensingh on 40 farmers, 120 middlemen (Araatdar) and 120 consumers.
Initial analysis shows that the national lockdown put a strain on transport links, caused a spike in unemployment and, consequently, decreased disposable incomes for families.
Many consumers with reduced incomes switched their main source of protein from fish to eggs as prices for popular fish like pangasius and carp increased alongside a spike in unemployment, demand for these fish dropped.
The researchers opined that the government should keep fish farms Covid-safe and operational while Department of Fisheries could also try to make farmers aware of "compensatory feeding" to keep feed costs under control.
Switching from monoculture to polyculture could give farmers more market options and help them withstand a further lockdown, according to the study outline.
The researchers also suggested developing digital services that would link consumers with their local finfish farmers.