Fishermen processing fish for drying in Shyamnagar, Shyamnagar, Satkhira, Bangladesh © IUCN, 2014
Mathurapur is a fisher’s village situated in the bank of Chuna River in the Sundarban neighborhood. It is located in the Munshigonj union of Shymnagar upazilla. The fishers are mostly landless. Male and female of this fisher community are mainly depend on Fishing. Devastation in Aila has affected their livelihoods. Moreover, they are susceptible to Tiger attack. The fishers are below the poverty line and need support to increase their income and decrease dependency on the natural resources and more inland options for income generation.
10 fisherfolk families of Mathurapur village.
Property rights and resource tenure:
The project beneficiaries live on the embankment which is a public property. This project has created access for them to collectively take a private land in lease and use it for fish drying as well as seasonal vegetable cultivation and crab farming, which otherwise would not have been possible for them.
The project has included women members of two families who lost their bread earners due to Tiger attack. The enterprise has trained them on shrimp drying and record keeping. Women members play a leadership role in the community enterprise.
Introducing a new trade to the fishers was not an easy task. The fishers of Mathurapur used to dry fishes for their household consumption in a limited scale, but when it came to the issue of producing for the market, maintaining a steady quality and quantity of production became important.
The fishers were linked with another fish drying factory and the experts from that factory trained the fishers of Mathurapur about the different techniques of production, which increased the confidence of the fishers.
Also, running a business as a group is something quite new to this community. Maintaining records, accounts and meeting regularly, all of it were new to them. Initially there was some lethargy from some of the male members, because the fish drying business is seasonal and depends on the supply of fish, but with time the situation improved.
Especially when the remaining parts of the enterprise premises was given to the enterprise members for vegetable cultivation and crab fattening, it gave them works that they know and round the year production, rather than depending just on the fish drying business. The diversity of livelihoods gave them the confidence that they needed.
Mathurapur village, Munshiganj union, Shyamnagar, Satkhira, Bangladesh
24th Feb 2014 to 23rd Feb 2015
The grantee, Sudipti Somaj Unnayan Sangstha cofinanced 2,228$ in-cash to establish the enterprise.
Sudiptee Somaj Unnayan Sangstha
'We can earn more from the forest than the business, but the risk associated with the forest is very high. We always wanted a better option for the next generation of the village, this enterprise could be one of such options'
Mona, Member of the Organic Fish Drying Enterprise of Mathurapur Village