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Fisheries Development Board (FDB) has achieved a landmark by producing in Sindh more than 125 tons of farm raised shrimp, first time in Pakistan under an EDF funded Project.

FDB started a project amounting to Rs. 178 million, funded by Export Development Fund, Ministry of Commerce in 2014. The project started with construction/upgradation of 12 shrimp ponds of 2.5 acre each, lined with geo-membrane on sides to improve water quality. Equipment and machinery required for the farming was procured and installed on the site including auto feeders and different types of aeration equipment used for semi-intensive and intensive shrimp farming operations. International experts were hired to run the farms and provided training to local staff of FDB and its partners. One site manager and four aquaculture technicians were hired under this project. Similar numbers of staffs were hired by each implementing partner for shrimp farming operations under MOU. This entire staff got hands-on training for shrimp farming.

During project period, four private companies participated in shrimp farming operations the first crop of 70 tons of shrimp was produced in 2015, for which imported shrimp seed and feed were utilized. During the year 2016, another crop of 55 tons was harvested for which feed was procured locally. Both the crops harvested were exported to Middle East through local seafood traders. Shrimp was also cultured in third and fourth years of the project by private partners under PPP mode.

Many of the private sector companies visited FDB shrimp farm and among them Engro Pakistan and Laborite Textiles were quite worthy and found much interested in shrimp farming activities. Many delegates of exporters, processors, traders, businessmen and investors as well universities students also visited the FDB model shrimp farm to seek information for similar business ventures, which showed that lot of interest was present to upscale the shrimp farming activity. The project also created interest among local fish farmers to start the shrimp farming and first private sector farm has been established and working for last two years; while Engro Pvt. Ltd. has also started its shrimp farm in Punjab, many others are planning for it.

This project has started the development of value chain for shrimp farming and one component, i.e. ‘the farming’ has been promoted and demonstrated. There is a need to promote shrimp feed production, local shrimp seed production and provision of electricity and roads in coastal areas.

FDB also demonstrated shrimp farming models in Punjab at private farms, the success of those farms has created a huge interest in public and private sector. Now the federal government after vast consultations with both public and private sector stakeholders has picked the idea of shrimp farming for promotion under its PM Initiative for agriculture emergency program for which an umbrella project of Rs. 8381.86 million has been approved in PSDP (2019-20) funding and is under implementation for promotion of shrimp farming along its value chain. Under the project 2500 acres in Punjab and 1000 acres in Sindh are planned to bring under shrimp farming in next 5 years.

This financing of EDF for this shrimp farming project has moved a wheel which will definitely be helpful to promote shrimp farming in the country and help boost our exports of seafood first time from aquaculture operations.

Hence, the role of FDB, EDF and Ministry of Commerce is event for this success story.