Pakistan has announced a plan to spend PKR 6 billion (USD 33.6 million, EUR 29.7 million) for developing climate-resilient shrimp farming across the country.

The funds will come from the National Agriculture Emergency Program, Pakistan Fisheries Development Board Director Imdadullah Salar told. The program will involve participation of numerous stakeholders in the industry, including shrimp hatcheries, research centers, shrimp farms, shrimp processing plants, and feed mills. FDB is targeting the conversion of 35,000 acres of land on saline soil areas for shrimp-farming activities under the program. A hatchery supplying around 250 million seeds a year will also be built in Balochistan, the largest province by area in the country, in 2022. Currently, Pakistan doesn’t have a single shrimp hatchery, forcing the country to import shrimp seed from Thailand, with the average price of PKR 6.0 (USD 0.03, EUR 0.02) per piece. Salar said he hopes the new hatchery will be able to provide seeds at much cheaper rate of PKR 1 (USD 0.006, EUR 0.005) per piece. Work on the project’s other components – including a 15-acre farm in Punjab Province, a shrimp-research center, a feedmill, and a processing plant – is underway, Salar said. These projects are part of the PKR 309 billion (USD 1.73 billion, EUR 1.53 billion) Agriculture Emergency Program launched by the government in 2019, when Pakistan initiated the collaboration with the U.N. FAO, World Food Program, and the U.N. Industrial Development Organization to allocate PKR 13.7 billion (USD 76.7 million, EUR 67.7 million) for three aquaculture development projects to boost the country’s fisheries production.

Pakistan is endowed with fisheries and aquatic resources that have significant potential to make a bigger contribution to economic growth and social development, FAO Pakistan Representative Mina Dowlatchahi said at the launch of the program.