EC alerts fish exporters
year 2001-2002 proved tough for the exporters of fish and
fish preparations as they sent big quantities but fetched
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
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
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
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