USAID leaves Swat’s fish farmers in limbo
November 12, 2012
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has left the fish farmers of the terrorism affected district Swat in disarray with leaving their fishery rehabilitation project incomplete.
“The USAID has wrapped off its project before imparting the requisite technical support while commitment for extending incomplete rehabilitation was also not fulfilled. The commitment was included the establishment of process units, cold chain and technical training for the local farmers,” said a member of Fish Farmers’ Association, Swat.
The farmers have made huge investment, but the untimely wrapping of the project threatened the ultimate collapse of the entire exercise. He said that due to USAID project, the sector was even not included in the multi-donor trust fund (MDTF) project being implemented by SMEDA for the rehabilitation of SME sector in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, which resulted in the deprivation of the farmers of grant under the scheme.
The farmers though are acknowledging the role of the United Stated funded Firms project in increasing fish production, but, lack of fish processing unit and cold chain deprived the country of export of trout fish worth millions of US dollars.
He said that the fish farmers of the valley during the current season have received export orders from different countries particularly from the rich Gulf States. However, the demand could be materialised due to the lack of fish processing unit either in public or private sector.
He urged both Federal and provincial governments to come forward and extend support to the trout fish farmers of the area, which were badly affected by terrorism and flood.
He also called for supporting private sector in their endeavour to establish fish processing unit and promote fish farming and motivating the entrepreneurs to establish new farms, which will generate economic activities through income generation and jobs creation for the unemployed individuals in the rural areas.
According to a recently conducted survey the demand of trout fish in local and foreign market so huge and capable to absorb all available commodities. He said that the beside more than 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes demand in international market, the domestic market has the potential to absorb 1,000 tonne of trout fish. But, the only requirement is the development of hatcheries and provision of quality certified seed to the farmers, which is presently not available in the required quantity from these facilities.
Delicious trout fish has huge potential of export and with the promotion of the sector Pakistan can become a member of the club of trout fish exporting countries like Chile, Italy, Norway, United States and other European countries.