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LAHORE: Inland Aquaculture Farming (fish & shrimp farming) has a potential to earn more than US$ 2 billion per annum provided, a pro-export policy is enacted, and fish farmers are educated about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) besides extending duties and tax exemptions at different stages of this sector to help bring down the cost of production.

Approximately more than 250,000 acres of land is engaged in aquaculture farming all over Pakistan. These could fetch handsome foreign exchange if incentivized by exempting sales tax on fish & shrimps feed, seed (babies) of fish & shrimps, exempt duties & taxes on all kinds of import of fish & shrimp for brood stocks and machinery for manufacturing Aquaculture feed or use in Aquaculture farming. Similarly, these farmers should be provided electricity at subsidized rates.

Haider Ali Director of an agro-based company demanded this while talking to Business Recorder at the sidelines of “AquaCon”, an event organized by the US Soya Bean Export Council (USSEC) recently in Colombo to promote investment in technology-based scientific farming in Aquaculture.

Aquaculture startups from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka pitched their projects to the investors at the event.

Haider said Inland Aquaculture Farming could not catch attention of the government because for fish consumption we mainly relied on open water (sea, river etc) catching which now a day is reducing gradually. The reason for less productivity in open water due to the use of small mesh-size nets for the last so many years which was harmful to baby fishes and did not let them grow ultimately resulting in genocide and changes the ocean and river ecosystem too.

For the last few years, the Fisheries Development Board (FDB) was working on improving Inland Aquaculture Farming by conducting various development programs and trying hard to educate farmers but still, the desired results had not been achieved. To achieve goals and increase per-acre production FDB along with Provincial Fisheries Department (PFD) had to work hard and transfer the proper and practical knowledge to farmers in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Though at the Provincial level, there were lots of fish hatcheries but not a single shrimp hatchery was available in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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