Gwadar needs fisheries processing center to increase sea-food exports

Gwadar needs fisheries processing center to increase sea-food exports

KARACHI: Ahmad Jawad, a known exporter and senior member, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) has suggested adequate functioning of fisheries processing centers in Gwadar.

"The facility will not only add value to local fishery products, mainly sea-food, but also improve well-being of locals," he said in a statement issued.

Jawad said government can help to overcome the difficulties faced by the fishing industry in the province before the Gwadar port is turned fully operational.

This, the exporter said was crucial for country as it has the potential to become a major producer of seafood, not only for local consumption but also for the global market.

"Moreover, nearly 400,000 people are directly engaged in fishing sector across the country while another 600,000 in the ancillary industries," said Ahmad Jawad.

The FPCCI member said a full-fledged and a fair policy is also needed to facilitate the million dollars fishing industry that can also help to increase country's dwindling export position.

Jawad, with a vast experience in issues related to food safety and also in exports of food goods, said ineffective cold chain, low standards in traceability (tracking the supplier, date and time of transactions) are major hindrances in strengthening fishing sector.

"It is because of these hindrances that an industry that can earn valuable foreign exchange and create a huge job market is presently contributory to a dismal one percent to our GDP," he said.

Ahmad Jawad said annual exports of fishery related goods, including sea food, touched 367 million dollars in 2013- 2014 and closed at $324 million in 2015-16 with export volume slashed by 4% in the same year.

FPCCI official and his colleague from Gwadar also took strong exception to industrial as well as organic waste being disposed untreated on the shores of Karachi.

They were of unanimous opinion that the practice must be immediately stopped with long term and regular arrangement to prevent its recurrence in any other parts of the country.

It was suggested that researchers, scientists, fish farmers and fish traders and concerned government departments must join hands to address the hurdles faced by the industry on strong and pragmatic lines.