- Fish export to India through Akhaura Land Port resumed on June 29
- But the amount of export fell by 30%
- Initially, the per day export to India was 40-45 tonnes which now stands at 55 to 60 tonnes
- Traders incurred a loss of $6 million owing to the three-month shutdown
- The government also lost a big amount in revenue
Fish export through Akhaura Land Port in Brahmanbaria to India, is gradually picking up with the Covid-19 situation gradually returning to normal.
Indian traders, who had stopped importing fish since March 24, have been buying fish in full force as they did in normal times since last week.
Bangladeshi traders could not export fish worth about $6 million during the three-month shutdown. The government was also deprived of revenue.
After the three-month hiatus, though fish exports resumed on June 29, exports fell by about 30%.
Faruk Mia, general secretary at the Akhaura Land Port Fish Exporters Association, said the traders, as well as fish farmers, have suffered financially in the last three months because most of the fish is procured from the farmers of our region for exporting to India.
Since the export activities resumed, on an average, 40 to 45 tonnes of fish were exported a day. Now, on an average, 55 to 60 tonnes are being exported per day, he added.
The export trade of Akhaura Land Port started to collapse as a result of improved transportation among the Indian state of Tripura and others. At present, this port has somehow survived by exporting a handful of products.
It is learned that after 1995, the first Akhaura land customs station started exporting goods to Agartala, the capital of Tripura. It was launched as a full-fledged land port on 13 August 2010.
Since then, the port has been exporting rods, cement, stone, plastic, fish, cotton, edible oil and food items worth crores of taka to Agartala. These exported products are supplied from Agartala to seven states known as the Seven Sisters of India.
However, the export trade has been declining for the last few years. Indian traders are now collecting the most demanded stones from Shillong. Rod-cement imports have also reduced.
Besides, the import of fish is often stopped by showing various excuses. Quite often, Indian traders are reluctant to take the fish even after the fish reaches the Agartala Land Port. As a result, the fish rots in the port, incurring huge losses to the exporters.
Bangladeshi traders are more focused on exports as they are not allowed to import goods from India with comparative demand, said Akhaura Land Port traders.
However, even after the decline in exports, Tk1-1.5 crore worth of goods on an average were exported to India, which collapsed due to the pandemic. On an average, Tk50 lakh worth of edible oil, cement, fish, cotton and food products are going to India every day.
Rajib Uddin Bhuiyan, joint general secretary at the Akhaura Land Port Importers-Exporters Association, said, "The export trade has halved due to Covid-19. However, the fish has been showing hope for the last few days. Also, the demand for fish will increase due to the upcoming winter season."