There are places in Bangladesh that rely on the production of dried fish for their livelihood. The biggest dried fish yards in the country are located in Nazirtek of Sadar upazila, Kutubjom and Sonadia at Maheshkhali upazila, Teknaf, Shamlapur, Sundaripara in Pekua upazila, St Martin’s Island and Baro Ghop in Kutubdia upazila.
However, the use of hazardous pesticides in preserving seawater fishes is rampant. Chemicals are used to kill insects inside the stomach of a dead fish. Thus, consumers throughout the country are getting chemical-coated dried fish, which is in violation of food safety laws. Meanwhile, the byproducts of the fishes are processed as poultry feeds. Among the pesticides widely used to treat fishes is Celcron 50 ec. A 500ml bottle of Celcron 50 ec contains 500 grams of active profenofos which is highly toxic and may cause diseases, including cancer.
What MTCP2 Bangladesh is doing
MTCP2 Bangladesh gave training on different eco-friendly methods of dry fish production such as using nets, using turmeric water, fish dryer, etc. to groups of dry fish producers. So far, MTCP2 developed 4 groups who are now producing dry fish without the use of pesticides.
MTCP2 Bangladesh is continuing its efforts to provide trainings. It is also trying to ensure a strong value chain to motivate other dry fish producers towards this effort by ensuring them that income in pesticide-free production is guaranteed.
MTCP2 facilitated linkage with a local market leader and shop owners’ association so that dry fish producers can have an access to the market. MTCP2 is also arranging campaign events to spread awareness on the efforts. These efforts resulted to a huge demand for pesticide-free dry fish.
Producing pesticide-free dry fish needs initial investment. Training, motivation and material support can be an effective strategy to ensure positive results. Ensuring sustainability and regular follow up are also essential. Towards the sustainability of this efforts, MTCP2 Bangladesh has taken the following steps:
Created linkages with a development project also funded by IFAD. From that project, our members are getting technical and financial support along with continues follow-up and supervision from technical persons.
Women family members of the groups have been brought under Micro Finance support of COAST Trust. This ensures continuous financial flow for their business.
To keep the members always within our track, and under regular development education, they are now active part of the Bangladesh Fish Workers Alliance.
Impacts of the effort