Home Sea food How this tiny seafood exporter survived labor shortage during Covid

How this tiny seafood exporter survived labor shortage during Covid

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Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Many small businesses fell victim to the pandemic, but surely MSMEs had their backs to the wall with the resulting labor shortage due to restrictions on movement.

Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Last year, the labor shortage stifled companies engaged in activities exempt from foreclosure restrictions. Many small businesses fell victim to the pandemic, but MSMEs were surely with their backs to the wall with the resulting labor shortage due to restrictions on movement. This became alarming, especially for markets that operated seasonally. For example, segments of the seafood industry in which sourcing takes place over approximately 10 months, with March through December, with May and June being the peak months.

Kolkata-based Yogesh Gupta, who runs Megaa Moda, which is dedicated to the processing, packaging and exporting of shrimp and shrimp, had only 100 workers left at its Howrah factory when the lockdown was applied in March of last year. Gupta typically has around 600 contract workers for 10 months who leave at the end of December and start returning in mid-March. However, the Covid restrictions have left Gupta with a severe shortage of around 500 workers.

Lack of manpower resulted in Megaa Moda shutting down during peak season, even though organizing 500 workers on short notice was nothing short of a Herculean task for Gupta during the lockdown. Importantly, fishing was one of the permitted activities during the lockdown. Thus, Gupta explored the hiring of workers from other sectors and lines of work, who had no idea of ​​seafood processing and packaging, but were looking for jobs because the sectors in which they were involved. were not exempt from operating during Covid. It also included workers who were new to the job market. Gupta eventually managed to recruit around 100 to 150 of these workers, enough that he could at least pay his plant’s overhead costs instead of nothing.

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“In fishing, January-March is the maintenance period because there is no raw material available during this period. During the cold season, prawns and prawns do not spawn much and so it is a lean season. We therefore use this time for the maintenance of the plant. With a total of around 200 to 250 workers, we have managed to operate at least 30 percent of our production capacity. Although production was affected, it was enough for us to run our three cold stores and pay electricity bills of around Rs 12 lakh per month. The extra cost incurred was around Rs 2 lakh on new workers but I was able to save around Rs 6 lakh per month during the lockdown. Fishermen and fishermen’s entrepreneurs were also unemployed. So we managed to get them on board. It was a win-win situation for us and these workers as well, ”Gupta told Financial Express Online.

In June, when the government eased restrictions on Covid, Megaa Moda was back to full capacity as workers at the plant. Compared to the April 2019 purchase of 150 tonnes of shrimp and shrimp, the company was only able to purchase 50 tonnes in April 2020. “Gupta said. In FY21, Megaa Moda posted a figure of d ‘business of Rs 189 crore, compared to Rs 197 crore in FY20. The company expects to close FY22 at around Rs 195 crore. “99% of our goods are exported worldwide to around 40 customers, while this year, we have also started to supply domestic products, ”added Gupta.

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