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Omar Hayat an expert on the fisheries sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan has said that the Prime Minister's initiative of the agriculture emergency lacks innovativeness, pro-poor approaches and technologies with potential to be scaled up for greater impact. Furthermore, provisions should also be to bring stakeholders on board.

Talking to this scribe, he said that the fisheries departments lack development of policy development capacities for enhanced advocacy and policy engagement and mechanisms to generate and share knowledge for development impact.

He said that departments throughout Pakistan have got weak extension services to cater to the need of the fish farmers. The training and visit model of extension services is not followed in letter and spirit for the development of the sub sector. Capacity building through short training with visit support of technical personals on regular basis would help the fish farmers to enhance their production on appropriate feeding regime of the species.

Similarly, he says that monitoring and evaluation is also an important aspect of development project which is completely lacking in the project documents as farmers fish rearing needs to be monitored for growth and mortality as this will impact the income of the farm. Each individual farmer has to be provided with the technical input for each production cycle so that he is able to get the grasp of raising fish at his facilities as an enterprise.

Value chain approach for livelihood diversification and poverty reduction for rural population is the appropriate approach for development which has not been looked into the development projects under the initiative.

He said that Value Chain Analysis should have been carried out and constraints to production, processing, transport and marketing should have been addressed with the other stakeholders. No doubt the main player is Fisheries Departments of the provinces. However, federal organizations should also be consulted so that the Shrimp and Fish culture can be developed for export particularly Trout Fish which has a great potential for local consumption and export with Tourism development.

Analyzing value chains helps to evaluate actors, processes, roles, the way actors share benefit, and the relationships and linkages among actors which has been totally ignored in the documents. The value chain analysis is an approach to enhance value added activities that would enable smallholders of fish producers to diversify income sources and reduce poverty. Value chain analysis is one of the basic dimensions in identifying activities, actors, relationships, constraints, and possible upgrading of production and marketing activities to add values and create opportunities for new actors (the poor) or new values/economic benefits for producers (smallholders) and actors in the value chain.

There are many other benefits of value chain analysis which needs to be addressed with each species of fish i.e. Warm Water, Cold Water, Brackish Water Fish Culture of the country.

The documents on Shrimp and Fish Culture, he said are totally salient on development of Business Plans for each enterprise which is going to be established under the initiative. Without a business plan the establishment of a Shrimp or Trout Fish Farm (Aquaculture) is working in the darkness. Proper monitoring of activities and day to day management will become difficult. The economics of cost benefit ratio of the enterprises will be difficult to be managed to profitable level. Break even of the enterprise based on 5000 kg/per cycle.

The success or failure of the imitative is based on business plan with availability of primary inputs of production i.e. Fish Seed and Fish Feed. The existing hatcheries are operating at minimum levels which are providing non certified fish seed (disease free). No pathological laboratories of fish disease are available in Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The one which is available is poorly staffed and equipped in cold water fisheries. The Trout Fish Hatcheries require proper technical evaluation for up gradation and enhanced production of seed to meet the requirement of Trout Fish Production Units in the Private Sector

Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture require appropriate understanding the basic principles of development and productivity enhancement of Fish production. The important and foremost thing in Fisheries and Aquaculture development is the availability of Seed for culture where it is shrimp farming, carp farming, Talipia farming or Hybrid Bass farming or cat fish farming.

The thematic areas under the plan are Shrimp Farming which is activity of brackish water in the coastal belt of Pakistan. We have tremendous potential to produce shrimp for export market. We have not been able to move forward in lieu of heavy investment made by Provincial Government and Federal Government in this endevour. The reason behind is non-availability of trained human resource.

Those who know the subject are reluctant to work in these locations which are mostly away from the main cities. The site selection is another problem in the development of shrimp farming in Sindh and Balaochistan Provinces.

The second area is Cage culture of fish throughout Pakistan, which has not been exploited for creation of jobs and income of the rural poor. Pakistan has number of water bodies throughout the country which can be developed under this initiative. We need to produce and ensure availability appropriate type of fish seed and its transportation from the Hatcheries to the production site.

The Fisheries departments lack the capacity to the requirement of the activity in the field. Further availability of cages at the local level needs to be produced by the industry for utilization by the communities as economical price.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020