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Business dries up for Orissa's dry fish producers

INDIA - Thousands of fishermen in Orissa who once had a flourishing business in dry fish - considered a delicacy in some parts of India - have now fallen upon bad times.

For around 30 years more than 100,000 people from around 50,000 families in the five districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara were involved in the dry fish business.

But now many of them find it difficult to get even two square meals a day. Low fish catch, too many middlemen, rising costs and an apathetic government have led to this situation, the fishermen say.

"I would not allow my son to get into the dry fish business that I had been doing for years. We would get higher returns if we diverted the same time to other jobs," says Arjun Mallick, a fisherman of Balasore district.

Adds Rabi Majhi of Jagatsinghpur district, "Now we are in the business not for money but out of compulsion. We don't know any other kind of work except the dry fish business."

Source: Earthtimes