Fisheries Development Board (FDB) has dismissed the impression that the local farm shrimps had grown white spot disease, fearing the reports on crustacean export ban by Saudi Arabia would hurt the country seafood production and trade.
“Pakistan has a successful story of farm shrimp production and beats India and Iran with a world class quality of shrimps,” CEO, FDB, Faisal Iftikhar told Business Recorder on Friday and rejected shrimps had been infected with the white spot disease.
He called the report on white spot disease as ‘unknown source’ that claimed the disease had been detected in the consignments of farm shrimps exported to the world markets from Pakistan.
“We are probing the claims and the source as well,” he said. He said reports were against the country’s economic interests, which would eventually benefit Indian and Iranian shrimp trade and scale down Pakistan’s crustacean production.
“It is a project of FDB with private stakeholders which the World Bank and a concerned standing committee of the national assembly appreciated,” he said.
Pakistan had developed successfully its aquaculture shrimp project, he said, adding the pace of the production would continue to beat India and Iran on the world markets with an increased crop yields.
“Pakistan has the UAE its key market and importers are keener to buy shrimps from us,” Iftikhar said.
Amid the global economic warfare, the unclear reports on disease infected shrimps were not less than an attempt to scale down Pakistan’s seafood trade.
“The disease kills shrimps immediately and how a dead shrimp could be exported,” he said and equated the reports with an anti-Pakistan drive.
“Pakistan’s farm shrimps are far better in quality than that of India and Iran,” he said, feeling that “it is an attempt like the one of RAW to pull down Pakistan with its economy”.
He said it was not a co-incident that a meeting between Federal Finance Minister and World Bank cancelled and media reports popped up simultaneously.
The CEO, FDB said Australia and Western countries were spellbound with the quality production of farm shrimps in Pakistan. He said National Assembly’s Standing Committee had also proposed the government to pour an investment of Rs 3 billion into the farm shrimp project after finding it a quality yield during its members visit to the site.
Iftikhar claimed that the FDB had laboratory reports to prove the shrimps were healthy for human consumption. Similarly, he said Saudi Arabia’s ban on shrimp import did not enshrine all Pakistani crustaceans export rather linked them to the provision of lab reports.
Thousands of acres of land were also offered for the shrimp farming in Zulfiqarbad, he said. “World buyers have stopped the Indian farm shrimps and are astonished to have Pakistani shrimps that are of a great quality,” he said, adding UAE had grown into a main Pakistani farm shrimp market in the world.
“Iran and India were dominating the UAE market but Pakistan upstaged their superiority,” he added.
“Indian lobby is behind the reports on Pakistani farm shrimp disease to offset Pakistan’s growth on the UAE market and elsewhere in the world,” Faisal said, adding the country had started from nothing to a skyward growth in no time that had widely withered away the competitors’ dominance on the world market.
He feared the media reports would block the billions of dollars investment in the farm shrimp projects in the country, saying that the decline in the freshwater crustacean production would hurt the country’s seafood export sector.
“Pakistan surprisingly and successfully grew from zero to one of the main farm shrimps producers and exporting countries in the world,” the CEO, FDB said.
Indian lobby seems to keep away Pakistan from the farm shrimp sector, he said, adding FDB was going to investigate the reports as what importing country had actually complained on the disease to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
He termed the media flare-up a ‘conspiracy’, saying that globally farm shrimp project in Pakistan had been recognised and appreciated.
Source: Business Recorder