AQUA NEWS

PAK-HUNGARIAN JV TO INVESTMENT OF $14 MILLION TO DEVELOP FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEM IN PAKISTAN

The ties between Pakistan and Hungary have further strengthened with the formation of AquaHatch International (Pvt.) Ltd, a joint venture company of both countries, which has a foreign and local investment of $14 million to develop a freshwater ecosystem in Pakistan. Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment (BoI), Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, said that he was confident that the JV between the two countries would flourish soon and provide employment opportunities. According to the minister, Pakistan received a foreign direct investment worth $42.5 million in 2020 and $21.2 million in 2021 from Hungary. “We are in the process of signing a bilateral investment treaty with Hungary and the first round of negotiations has been held in Islamabad,” he added. The minister also highlighted the important role of the BOI, which acts as an interface between international and local investors and public and private sectors. The business partners of AquaHatch include VitaFort Agro Asia, a Hungarian Company which has developed dozens of such hatcheries in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. The local partners include Jaffer Agro Services (Pvt.) Ltd., which has vast experience in supplying agricultural service, equipment, and products to farmers across the country, Garibsons (Pvt.) Ltd., which is one of Pakistan’s top rice and maize export companies, and Deep Blue Seafoods (Pvt.) Ltd., Vita Fort Agro Asia is the only foreign firm investing in this project, along with the Pakistani investors. It is important to develop the freshwater ecosystem in Pakistan because currently, the country’s freshwater ecosystem is home to about 200 species of fish, out of which only 30 are considered commercially viable due to huge local demand. It is imperative to bear in mind that owing to overfishing and over-harvesting, the fisheries’ resources have depleted drastically. To meet the local demand for protein from fish, the freshwater ecosystem needs to be developed. Aquaculture is one way to reduce the pressure on freshwater bodies and to meet the local fish demand. . Currently, aquaculture fish  in Pakistan has low quality and does not cater to the local and international demand potential, especially the middle-eastern and European markets ‘The existing hatcheries are unable to fulfill the nation’s requirement. So far, only two million seeds could be produced locally, as for the rest, there is a heavy reliance on imported seeds which have many issues. To cater to the demands of fish seeds, In the initial phase, AquaHatch aims at setting up a pilot of producing 10 million seeds initially and supplying them to the local fish farms. The project has already procured 100 acres of land where the operations will be scaled-up to around 50 million seeds in the future. The company’s headquarter is located along the prime potential hatchery belt in Sultanabad in district Thatta, Sindh.