Experts suggest seeking Chinese help in preserving, processing fish catch: WealthPK

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s seafood processing sector is worn-out, needing adoption of modern techniques. Chinese coordination in this regard can help minimize the post-harvest losses to ensure food security and boost exports.

Aslam Jarwar, Aqua Culture Specialist at the World Bank, said this while talking to WealthPK.

“Our seafood processing sector is worn-out, needing revival on modern lines. Value addition is almost neglected and most exports are done in raw form. The post-harvest losses are not only a major concern for all stakeholders, but it also causes food insecurity. To curb these losses, there is a need to adopt new preservation techniques other than freezing, e.g., smoking, refrigeration, temperature, and timing assurance equipment for quality checks, perfect handling practice, adequate packing, safe fumigation of fishing vessels before fishing to avoid insects; short time to remain in fishing gear, proper sun drying, etc.,” said Jarwar.

“Our processing plants only freeze the catch, but mostly no other preservation technique is performed there. Owing to poor preservation, only 10% of fish is fit for export. Karachi provides 70% of fisheries output. We can improve our fisheries and value-addition segment through official coordination with China. Training by Chinese experts and transfer of technology concerning this segment can make this sector more valuable and productive,” he added.

Talking to WealthPK, Deputy Director Environment Gwadar Development Authority and Coordinator CPEC Component, Gwadar, Abdur Raheem said, “Our long coastlines and inland areas suitable for fish farming lag behind due to the lack of awareness among people and the total absence of knowing the modern ways of fish farming. The traditional ways of farming are still practised in Pakistan. Another great problem depriving our fishermen of profit is preservation and lack of proper storage facilities due to which 50-70% of the catch is wasted. This type of post-harvest loss damages the overall revenue generation. China outrivals many countries in value addition and aqua cultural techniques both related to inland and marine farming. Pakistan must seek Chinese coordination to overcome this weakness in the fisheries sector.” –INP