Sustainable Community based dry fish unit as a tool for improving livelihoods of Sundarban dependent fisherman community

Fish drying

Fish drying © MFF Bangladesh


 The objective of the project was creating Community based livelihood options for fisherman community through  fish drying and its promotion to the market which will decrease the fishermen’s’ dependency on the Sundarbans:  

- A sustainability mechanism for community based dry fish processing unit established

-Promoting gender equality in enterprise management

- Creating proper management to maintain the project function well


The project mainly focused on the fisherman community of Sundarban who are completely depended on the forest and all the situated rives along the forest for their livelihood. The community is so poor that they do not even have their own houses and live in land given by the government. Most of the time, they earn their livings with the fear of tigers and robbers in the forest, crocodile and shark in the rivers and all the natural disasters. In 2007, Sidar and in 2009, Aila have changed their life drastically which cannot be even recovered within 100 years. Due to the Climate change, salinity has also been increased in the area and in river which is another major reason of less availability of fishes in the river. The amount of food the fishermen use weekly to catch fish is often more costlier than the amount of fish they fetch. The situation leads them to look for alternate way of living based on the forest resources which increase threat to the forest ecosystem. Also, as the sea level is rising, there is a chance that the tidal surge will submerge the villages of the fishermen in future. Hence, their lives and livelihoods are always in threat of destruction. For this reason creating sustainable alternate livelihood is very essential for the community of fishermen and for protecting the forest from the destruction.

Thus, the project planned to collect different type of fishes, and make organic dry fishes by following proper procedure. The dry fishes will be packaged and sold to the local market as there is a good market of dry fish.

Target beneficiaries

Beneficiaries direct- 10,

Beneficiaries indirect- 250.

Beneficiaries households (Direct & Indirect)- 70-75




  • 25 women (tiger widow and very poor who are depended on the forest) were selected and involved in the project. Among them 10 women were chosen to become a committee group member and the women were trained for capacity building and continuous meetings were held with them. All the women were registered with proper documentation to develop an association.
  • In first round they sold 3912kg of organic dry fish and receive 3,30,000.00 taka where their profit was 2500.00 taka
  • In second round they sold 2835kg of organic dry fish and receive 3,32,000.00 taka where their profit was 4500.00 taka

Accomplishments and challenges


  • The women groups were motivated to work. During proper season, making dry fishes is profitable for the group


  • When white fishes are dried, it requires continuous sunlight for 3-4 days which sometimes difficult to get due to weather.
  • Also, when they are provided artificial heat, there remains high chance of burning the fishes which customers do not like to buy.
  • Also, these white fish cannot be dried from March to October. Thus, despite of having demand, the white dry fish cannot be supplied at the period of time.
  • To get proper benefit, the dry fishes need to be produced in a large amount which required huge amount of capital.
  • To overcome these seasonal changes, the group needs updated technology. As these are very expensive, the project could not afford it.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

All the project members are only female which address the gender inequality in the society.

Also, the project helps to build alternate livelihood sources

Lessons Learned

  • To produce dry fish, producers’ expertise is very important.
  • To sell the products, finding proper market is necessary.
  • Developing an enterprise is essential to run this kind of project.
  • One of the main points that need to keep in mind when preparing dryfish is the seasonal changes. Also everyday weather monitoring is very crucial.

Project Facts



Mathurapur village, Munshiganj union, Shyamnagar, Satkhira, Bangladesh



24th May 2016 to 24th May 2017

MFF Grant Amount

BDT 420,000

Co-financing Partner

Sudiptee Shomaj Unnayan Shangstha (SSUS) 

(In-kind): USD 1,795 or BDT 140,000

Implementing Partner

Mr. Samir Ranjan Gayen;

Executive Director, Sudipti Somaj Unnayan Sangstha (SSUS)

Mathurapur village, Munshigong Union under Shamnagar Upazilla of Satkhira District, Bangladesh

Ph- +8801712869073


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