Seafood exports surge in 1st half of FY 2021-22

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s seafood exports grew by 3.18% year-on-year to $201.581 million (Rs34.593 billion) during July-December 2021, from $195.364 million (Rs31.857 billion) during the same period of the last fiscal year, WealthPK reported.
On YoY basis, fish exports from the country increased by 78.21% to $51.078 million (Rs9.050 billion) in December 2021, from $28.662 million (Rs4.588 billion) during the same month last year, WealthPK reported.
Seafood exports, on the other hand, fell by 5.62% month over month in December 2021, compared with $54.118 million (Rs9.364 billion) in November 2020, according to the latest figures released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Muslim Mohammedi, Chairman of Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association, told WealthPK that China was the largest destination for Pakistan’s aquatic exports with a 60% share, which includes ribbon fish, cuttlefish, squid fish, and jellyfish.
He further informed that Pakistan’s fisheries exports were operating at full capacity, and their exports were projected to increase in the second half of the current fiscal year 2021-22.
Muslim Mohammedi called for incentivizing power tariffs on both electricity and gas in order to propel seafood exports to different destinations/markets including China. He was of the view that Pakistan’s production cost has increased due to high power tariffs which may cause decrease in exports.
The overall food group exports from the country during the first half of the current fiscal year increased by 22.28% as compared with the same period of last year. During the period from July-December, 2021, different food commodities including rice, vegetables, fruits, oilseeds, meat, fish, spices, and others valuing $2.482 billion were exported against the exports of $2.030 billion during the same period last year.
It’s worth mentioning that the country’s overall exports increased by 24.71% in the first half of current fiscal year, showing an increase of $15.102 billion from $12.110 billion during the previous year.
Imports also registered about 65.94% increase as they went up from $24.454 billion in the first half of last year to $40.580 billion during the current year, the PBS data revealed.
In a statement, Abdul Razak Dawood, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce and Investment, said that exports of fish and fish products, fruits and vegetables, and other food items had increased during the first half of the current fiscal year.
As per a World Bank study, China consumed 65 million tons of seafood, of which only 15 million tons were fetched from the wild, and the remaining 50 million tons were achieved through aquaculture farming.
The export of Pakistan’s aquatic products to China still has enormous potential to grow. As the world’s largest importer of aquatic products, China imported $13.8 billion worth of aquatic products in 2021, up about 11% YoY, according to Chinese customs data.
Fisheries would be a big and emerging industry for Pakistan’s exports.
Fishing in Pakistan accounts for around 1% of the GDP, but it still plays a crucial role in developing the economy by providing employment opportunities to a significant number of people. Moreover, it can be a profitable profession and a promising means to earn precious foreign exchange for the country.
In order to increase the seafood production and shrimp business, farmers need a good, cheap and easily-available aqua feed, which can be made available with the help of Chinese investments. Chinese investors can bring the new fish breeds to Pakistan and set up their farms, hatcheries and sell these products to the farmers, besides helping them enhance their production exports.
Chinese investors and experts can largely help Pakistan lay a robust aquaculture infrastructure in specific areas and improve the capacity building of the people associated with the business.
In summation, joint fisheries business policies must be formulated with fish farm owners, and fishery trade expansion possibilities must be explored. Fish farming investments in Pakistan are a profitable business for both Chinese and Pakistani investors. – INP

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