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EC alerts fish exporters   

EC alerts fish exporters -: Pakissan.comThe year 2001-2002 proved tough for the exporters of fish and fish preparations as they sent big quantities but fetched lower earnings.

The September 11 incidents, that triggered recessionary trend in the Western countries and even in the Asian markets, can be attributed as the main reason for playing havoc with fish exports fetching reduced prices for its products.

Pakistan's export of fish during July-March 2001-2002 stood at $97 million (64,471 metric tons) only.

As against $109 million (62,342 tons), showing a fall of 11 per cent in value terms.

Exporters shipped 3.42 per cent more quantities but could not get the desired level of earnings.The average unit price (AUP) in July-March 2001-2002 declined to $1.5 from $1.75 per kg in the same period of last fiscal year.

"We may not be able to earn more than $120-130 million when the current financial year concludes in June," disappointed exporters say. In July-June 2000-2001, Pakistan earned $138 million from the fishery exports.

Despite the fact that the figure of earnings in March as compared to February this year gave a rosy picture as if exports have started picking up but it may not make a good impact on the cumulative earnings when the 2001-2002 fiscal year ends in June.

In March, both quantity and value of fish exported to various countries rose by 50 per cent as compared to February but as compared to March 2001, its value was eroded by five per cent.

Even if Pakistan earns an average nine million dollars in April, May and June - the exports earning are not expected to go beyond $120-130 million in 2001-2002.


The unpleasant saga of decline in fishery exports got underway soon after September 11 when the foreign buyers of shrimps and fish started switching over to cheaper imports from the other countries, resulting in a sudden 30-40 per cent decline in purchase orders.

The economic slowdown in Europe and America and some countries of Asia has changed the complexion of consumption pattern, reducing the demands of various products thus opening avenues for cheaper products.

From October 2001, foreign buyers started asking Pakistani exporters to lower the price as compared to rates offered by India, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc.

As a result of this, exports of fish became non-competitive in the world markets. Even today, this practice of foreign buyers is still in vogue but Arab buyers are purchasing at normal rates.

The heat of the September 11 incidents was so intense that it even refrained people in America and Europe from eating in restaurants and hotels. As a result of this, room occupancy and business of leading hotels in these countries dropped by more than 50 per cent.

Security in foreign countries had been beefed up in the wake September 11 incidents, causing problems to exporters in getting visa for business purposes.

An official in the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said that shrimp exports, which contribute 55 per cent share of total fishery products exports, was severely affected.

He said India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Thailand fully utilized the September catastrophe by dumping the fishery products at very cheap rates in the western countries as they had the advantage of artificial farming for shrimp production.

By developing aqua culture and offering cheap rates to foreign buyers these countries are giving tough time to Pakistani exporters. On the other hand, Pakistan lacks these kind of facilities on the organized basis to export shrimp to world markets.

Pakistan's presence in world market has faced a setback almost every year. This January, the European Commission had detected the presence of chloramphenicol in shrimps imported from Pakistan by an exporter.

The EC had urged the member states that all consignments of shrimps arriving from Pakistan should be sampled in order to demonstrate their wholesomeness as the presence of this substance presented a potential risk for human health.

As a follow up of this event, the EC has imposed 100 per cent checks on import of frozen fish products from Pakistan. The total yearly seafood catch in Pakistan is around 700,000 tons, 35 per cent of which is locally consumed.

A similar quantity is used in the preparations of fish meal for the local poultry feed industry and the rest 10-13 per cent is exported either in frozen or fresh form to three major international markets - the European Union, Japan and the USA, while a similar quantity is exported to Sri Lanka in dried form at about half the price.

Courtesy: Dawn News;



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