Being a riverine country, fishermen of Bangladesh collected fertilized eggs from river from the time immemorial (Ali et al., 2010). Halda is the only river in Bangladesh where Indian Major Carps spawn naturally which makes this river a unique heritage of this country (Tsai et al., 1981; Patra and Azadi, 1985; Kabir et al., 2013). Generally, fishermen collect fertilized eggs of a white fish at Indian Major Carp, i.e., Rohu (Labeo rohita), Katla (Gibelion catla) and Mrigal (Cirrhinus cirrhosus) from Halda River (Tsai et al., 1981). In Bangladesh, most of the hatchery owners use brood fish from the same source. Inbreeding and unplanned hybridization is a major problem in seed production in most of the hatcheries of Bangladesh (BFRI., 2014). For this reason, hatchery produced fry are mostly unable to reach the highest growth. These fry are mostly disease-prone and have high mortality rate. In this circumstance, hatchery owners need to collect the brood and fry from natural source. Halda river is the only suitable example from which they can collect wild fry. Because Halda fry are mostly disease resistant, inbreeding free, have high survival rate and able to live in stressed conditions (Kabir et al., 2013). Consequently, it is very important to collect fry from Halda River to avoid inbreeding and other problems. Therefore, identification of proper marketing channel of Halda fry would provide more information for the interested hatchery owners.
Although, some hatchery owners collect fry of Halda River to improve their business but there is no specific information available on quality of Halda fry over artificial fry, their market acceptance, their marketing channels and as well as profit and loss of Halda fry (Kibria, Pers. Commu). Even people who are involved directly or indirectly with the marketing of halda fry are also unknown. As a result, it is essential to determine the growth and survival rate of Halda fry and identify their marketing channels and potentials for further development and improve the livelihood of the poor people engaged in the collection of Halda fry.
According to DoF, different research works have been done on Halda River, such as, conservation and management of river Halda (Azadi, 2005; Azadi and Arshad-ul-Alam, 2011), impact of climate change on River Halda and its remedy (Azadi, 2012); collection and hatching of fertilized eggs of major carps (Patra and Azadi, 1984); restoration of natural breeding habitat of the Halda River (Rahman, 2012). However, no studies have been done on the marketing channels of Halda fry. The socio-economic conditions of personnel involved in Halda fry collection and trading are also unknown. Therefore, the present study was conducted to know the marketing channel of fry of River Halda and the socio-economic conditions of the Halda fry traders.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was conducted for a period of 6 months i.e., May-October, 2013. Data were collected personally through face to face interview, using semi-structured questionnaires and Focus Group Discussion (FGD). Primary data were collected through surveying egg collectors and fry sellers of Halda River, people involved in fry rearing in Jubin Hatchery, fry buyer and fish farmers. The primary data based on field survey were collected from people who were involved in marketing channels of fry from Halda river to noakhali district. Frequent visits were made to collect data in the study area of Chittagong and Noakhali district.
The study was conducted in eight different places of Noakhali district and Halda region namely, Jubin hatchery, Mannan Nagor, Khalifar Hat, Rajgonj and Maijdee Court of Noakhali region and Maduna Ghat, Madarsha and Gorduara of Halda region (Fig. 1). These areas were selected as study area because most of the people involved in marketing of Halda fry are living in these areas. Jubin Hatchery was selected as this hatchery collected fry from Halda River and rear them for certain period to sell them at a good price. These fry are sold among local fish farmers of Noakhali. The study areas were also expanded towards the location of those farmer.
A total of 31 interviewees were selected in random sampling method for questionnaire interviews in eight different places. Fourteen persons were selected from Halda region and 17 different persons were chosen from Noakhali region. Among them 17 of Noakhali region, 11 were involved in Jubin Hatchery, 4 in fish farming and a driver and an assistant driver were also involved.
The data were collected using focus group discussions, snowball technique through questionnaire interviews and crosscheck interview with key informants (Fig. 2). Data was processed and finally analyzed using MS Excel-2010.
||(a) Path way (Red color) of the study area from (Noakhali) to Halda River (Chittagong) including the Map of Bangladesh (inset) and (b) Study areas in Halda river indicated by red circle
|Fig. 2:||Data collection technique of the study
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Halda fry marketing system: In Halda fry marketing system, there was a number of middle men involved in both Halda region and Noakhali district. The study reveals that the fry of River Halda distributed in four different ways. Firstly, 70% of Halda fry are marketed from egg collectors to the local consumers by following channels: Fry sellers (egg collector)→Local fish farmers→Pond owners and other fish farmers→local markets/consumers. Secondly, 20% of Halda fry are marketed from egg collectors to the nationwide consumers by the following channels: Fry sellers (egg collector)→agents of hatchery owners→drivers→hatchery supervisor→hatchery workers→fry distributor→fish cultivators→market consumers. Thirdly, 7% of fry are marketed from egg collectors to the renowned public hatchery owners (such as-Raipur and Mymensingh fish hatchery) in order to develop brood fish by following channels: Fry sellers (egg collector)→hatchery owners and→persons involved in brood-stock development. Fourthly, 3% of fry are distributed to the government Halda brood restoration projects to restore the brood fish of Halda River by the following channels-Fry sellers (egg collector)→Govt. Halda Brood Restoration Projects and→river Halda (Fig. 3).
In current study, four different channels were observed in distribution channel of Halda fry. Mia (1996) and Rahaman et al. (2013) identified three different marketing channels in Mymensingh district of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India respectively. Roy (2008) found four different marketing channels of fish fingerlings in Dakshin Dinajpur District of West Bengal, India which is similar to the present study.
Price variation in halda fry: Prices of Halda fry varied in different stages of the marketing channel. Egg collectors sell per kg of fry at a cost of BDT 40,000-60,000 to the hatchery owners where fries comprises per kg is about 4-5 Lac. But Hatchery owners sell each fry at a cost of BDT 5-6 to the local fish farmers (Table 1).
|Table 1:||Price variation of fry in the marketing channel
||Marketing channels of Halda fry
Generally, a ordinary hatchery fry of 1-1.5 inch size is sold at a cost of BDT 1-2 whereas similar sized Halda fry is sold at a cost of BDT 5-6. This data was evaluated by surveying different private hatcheries of Noakhali district.
Sharif and Abdulla-Al-Asif (2015) reported that the average price of Rui, Katla and Mrigal fry at different hatcheries in Jessore was 1900, 2400 and 1500 BDT kg1, respectively. He also reported that the price was high at the beginning and end of the season but comparatively less when the supplies of fries were available.
Islam et al. (2005) reported that considering both government and private Fish Seed Farms (FSFs), per kg sale price of spawn for GFSFs (BDT 2250) was higher compared to PFSFs (BDT 1660). It is clear that the price of Halda fry is much higher than the ordinary hatchery produced fry. The finding reveals that the quality and subsequent good-will made this elevated price for Halda fry.
Transport mechanism and cost: Eggs and Fry were transported in a sophisticated mechanism in every stage of marketing channel. Adequate oxygen (O2) was supplied in the polythene bag during transportation of fry. Oxygenated polythene bag were handled carefully in micro bus. Assistant driver of the micro bus usually observed the fry condition continuously. Air Conditioning (AC) system was used in the micro bus to control the temperature of the water in polythene bag. After long journey fry were usually conditioned in the pond for half an hour for acclimatization.
Transportation cost is varied with time and distance of places. In this study, the transportation cost from Halda River to Jubin Hatchery was BDT 5,000 due to the long distance and extra fry handling facilities. However, Roy (2008) reported that transportation cost was negligible in West Bengal, India due to less interfere of middlemen and short distance of places.
Survival rate of fry: According to hatchery operators, the survival rate of the fry during different stages of the rearing process and transportations was more than 95% and as a result the mortality rate was less than 5%.
Rahaman et al. (2007) found that the fry mortality was 24% due to improper management in Jessore district of Bangladesh which is much more than this finding. The fry of river Halda was more disease resistant and had capacity to adapt with little environmental stressed condition even. As a result their survival rate was highly satisfactory.
Age, family types, religious pattern and educational condition: Most of the interviewee was less than 30 years (39%) and minimum number of interviewee was higher than 70 years old (3%) (Fig. 4).
Pravakar et al. (2013) reported that age group of 41-60 years was the highest (44%) and 20-30 years was the lowest (20%) considering all fish farmers in Shahrasti Upazila of Chandpur, Bangladesh which is totally different to present study as because young and energetic persons are becoming more interested to culture Halda fry.
Most of the interviewee was married and living in single or joint family with their parents. Maximum 58% interviewees were in single and minimum 42% interviewees were in joint family. Abdulla-Al-Asif et al. (2015) found that most of the fry traders (73%) had single family but only 27% had joint family in Chachra of Jessore which is more or less similar to present study.
Three types of religions was identified among them Muslims-71%, Hindus-16% and Buddhists 13%. Pravakar et al. (2013) found that about 75 and 25% of the fish farmers were Muslims and Hindus, respectively in Shahrasti Upazila of Chandpur which is different to present study as because there was a number Buddhists family near Halda river.
|Fig. 4:||Age distribution of persons involved in marketing channel
|Fig. 5:||Percentage of education of persons involved in marketing channels
Some of the interviewee was highly educated, such as, hatchery owner, hatchery manager, technician etc. They occupy only 3% in the education percentage category (Fig. 5). But most of the interviewee (37%) was not fully educated. They have just the knowledge of primary education. Abdulla-Al-Asif et al. (2015) found that 46% of traders have institutional education that range from primary to higher education and other 54% of traders have no experience in education in Chachra region of Jessore which is different to present study.
Experience on business of halda fry and income status: Experience of interviewee on Halda fry varies according to their ages. Most of the interviewee has about one or two years knowledge on Halda fry. Highest (55%) percentage of persons was slightly experienced on Halda fry. Besides some much more experienced persons are also involved in the marketing channels of fry of River Halda. Lowest (9%) percentage of persons was moderately experienced on Halda fry (Fig. 6).
Income source: In the on-season at of Halda fry, the income source of most of the interviewee was fry collection, hatching, rearing, selling etc. But in the off-season at of Halda fry, interviewee involved themselves in agriculture, hatchery works, daily labor, fish culture (Table 2).
Income of egg collectors: Average income of egg collectors depends on the availability of eggs in river Halda in a given year. But average income of hatchery workers was the same all the year round.
In this study, the On-season income of maximum (37%) egg collectors was Tk. 651-700 and minimum (12%) egg collectors was less than BDT 600 per day (Fig. 7). Besides, Off-season income of maximum (37%) egg collectors was BDT 251-300 and minimum (12%) egg collectors was BDT 301-350 (Fig. 8).
||Experience on business of Halda fry
|Fig. 7:||On-season income
|Table 2:||Income sources during on-season and off-season
Abdulla-Al-Asif et al. (2015) reported that the average monthly income of traders in the on-season was BDT 18000/month (i.e., 600/day) and in the off-season was less than BDT 7000/month (i.e., 233/day). It is clear that both on-season and off-season income of this finding is lower than the present study as because Halda fry traders get more financial benefit.
Income of hatchery workers: Hatchery workers are involved with Halda fry in a certain period of time during Halda season. In this case, they did not get any extra salary for the work on Halda fry. They only paid their regular monthly salary for the works in the hatchery (Fig. 9).
|Fig. 8:||Off-season income
|Fig. 9:||Monthly incomes of hatchery workers
Income of Jolodas (fishermen cum net-maker): Jolodas (capture fishers) are comparatively lower income-class people in the study area. Their livelihood condition seemed uncertain due to limiting the harvesting facility from the Halda river. Most of the types of net setting and fishing in Halda river were banned from 1997. As a result, they became helpless and worried about their livelihood. Alternative livelihood opportunities need to be created in urgent basis.
Satisfaction about Halda fry trading: Most of the interviewee (84%) was satisfied by involving themselves with the fry of Halda river. But some Jolodas (capture fishermen) were not satisfied (16%) as because they are unable to collect fry and larger fish from the river. They were worried about their livelihood and seeking alternative income source to meet up their livelihood. Besides, some dishonest traders mixed hatchery-made fry with original Halda fry to get more profit. As a result, the quality of Halda fry was deteriorated and ordinary fish farmers was cheated in some cases.
In marketing system of Halda River generated fry, a number of intermediaries were involved actively for selling fry. There are four different types of marketing channels found in Halda fry distribution from fry seller to final consumer. Egg collection and hatching technique applied by local egg collectors was almost indigenous. They developed the indigenous technology by gathering their practical knowledge years after years. During transportation of fry, oxygenated polybags and extra care of handling is essential to avoid the mortality. The mortality rates of Halda fry in the farm and in the transportation were near less than 5% percent due to disease resistant power and high adaptability of the fry with the environment. As a result, most of the hatchery owner wants to make their brood fish from Halda originated fry. Besides these, fry has no chance of inbreeding problem so that demand of Halda fry is much more than hatchery fry. If every hatchery owners determine to make brood fish from Halda fry then the culture system of Halda fry would be developed and practiced commercially in mass scale. On the basis of the findings of the present study, it can be concluded that a specific marketing channel should be established to ensure the supply of the original Halda fry as some dishonest farmers supply hatchery fry saying as Halda fry. Technical Training is essential for hatchery technicians/workers to take proper care of Halda fry rearing.