Impact of COVID-19 on Smallholder Aquaculture Farmers and Their Response Strategies: Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh

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Alam, G.M. Monirul, Sarker, Md Nazirul Islan Sarker, Kamal, Md Abdus Samad, Khatun, Most Nilufa and Bhandari, Humnath. 2023. "Impact of COVID-19 on Smallholder Aquaculture Farmers and Their Response Strategies: Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh." Sustainability. 15 (3), pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032638
Article Title

Impact of COVID-19 on Smallholder Aquaculture Farmers and Their Response Strategies: Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh

ERA Journal ID41498
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsAlam, G.M. Monirul, Sarker, Md Nazirul Islan Sarker, Kamal, Md Abdus Samad, Khatun, Most Nilufa and Bhandari, Humnath
Journal TitleSustainability
Journal Citation15 (3), pp. 1-13
Number of Pages13
Year2023
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN2071-1050
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032638
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/15/3/2638
AbstractBangladesh’s aquaculture sector has contributed progressively to the nation’s economy over the years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has impeded fish farmers’ access to markets, reduced their production and sales capacity, resulted in lower income, and increased food security vulnerability. This study assesses how COVID-19 affects smallholder fish farmers and their response strategies by employing data collected from 250 fish farmers and traders from intensive fish-growing areas of Bangladesh. The results reveal that most farmers experienced difficulty obtaining inputs, and the price of those inputs skyrocketed during the COVID-19 period, resulting in several months of decreased production and operations. As a result of COVID-19, farm gate prices for silver carp, ruhu, common carp, grass carp, and tilapia fish dropped by 25%, 23%, 23%, 22%, 23%, and 40%, respectively. On the other hand, fish feed prices were found to increase significantly. Reduced income from fish farming and other sources has triggered a significant drop in capital for farming operations and production capacity improvement, leading to food insecurity. The most common coping strategies include reduced buying from the market (vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, etc.), relying on less expensive or less preferred food, purchasing food on credit, and selling assets. Notably, due to COVID-19, a new mode of marketing has evolved as an adaptation strategy in the fish marketing system, such as the use of the mobile phone (18%) and Facebook/internet to sell fish directly to the customer (16%). The sector requires short-term financial assistance to assist fish actors with production and marketing challenges. © 2023 by the authors.
Keywordsagri-food system; agribusiness; fisher community; food value chain; food system; sustainability
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 20203099. Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences
Byline AffiliationsBangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Bangladesh
School of Commerce
University of Science, Malaysia
Gunma University, Japan
International Rice Research Institute, Bangladesh
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