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January 5, 2016
The following press release announces Pakistan’s first successful shrimp farm and suggests that shrimp farming in Pakistan could become a billion dollar industry.
Aamir Dhedhi left a lucrative family business at one of Pakistan’s top securities brokerage firms several years ago and founded Reliance Aquafarms with the dream of developing a sustainable shrimp farm. There was, however, a big gap between his dreams and reality. He built a model shrimp farm on a large, 4,000-acre site in the Indus River Delta, south of Karachi, the first modern shrimp farm in Pakistan. “Being the first, we knew would be challenging, but it was the continuous string of new problems that almost killed me,” recalls Dhedhi. When things started to go wrong, some of the investors lost faith and the project almost failed. “Through these challenging times, we engaged the counsel of shrimp consulting firm, Acquestra based in Thailand (Managing Director, Monrudee Gruenberg, and Chief Consultant, Dr. Eddy Wong). Although he attempted to implement the suggestions of Acquestra, there simply was not sufficient money to make the necessary changes.
Then about a year ago, Dhedhi got his first big break. His son went to the same school as the son of Mr. Faisal Iftikhar, CEO of the Fisheries Development Board, a governmental organization in Pakistan charged with developing new industries in the fisheries sector. Dhedhi and Iftikhar got together and decided that supporting a large private effort to develop the industry would be more practical than trying to go it alone with only government support. Among Dhedhi’s many failures and problems, there were also some significant successes. It was Iftikhar’s vision and ability to look past the failures that ultimately made the project successful.
Iftikhar put together a budget for the project, knowing that they badly needed a successful harvest to get investors back on board. In the autumn of 2015, they harvested their first crop, and everyone was pleasantly surprised at the level of success. They stocked 10 ponds (1.1. to 1.4 hectares) and had from 70 to nearly 100% survivals and an average production of 7.2 tons per pond. For some ponds the feed conversion ratio was less than 1-to-1 and the overall FCR was 1.06-to-1. Since feed represents more than 50% of the operating costs of a shrimp farm, the low FCR and high survival rate meant that not only was shrimp farming feasible in Pakistan, it would also be competitive with other shrimp farming countries.
Pakistan’s Indus River Valley has abundant medium-salinity and freshwater and no industrial pollution. Acquestra estimated that Pakistan could profitably and sustainably produce 10 to 15 metric tons of shrimp per hectare per year. It also pointed out that Pakistan had a minimum of 20,000 hectares ideally suited for shrimp farming—and possibly much more. Those statistics suggested a potential of more than 200,000 metric tons of farmed shrimp a year, worth over $1 billion a year in export revenues.
Iftikhar chose Acquestra as project consultants because it focused on feed and water quality management and because it advised Iftikhar not to produce feed and postlarvae on-site. It recommended importing organic feed from Sureerath Farm in Thailand and postlarvae from a hatchery in Thailand. Acquestra’s Natural Pond Management® technology provides a sustainable and natural, chemical-free way to grow shrimp on a combination of copepods and pelleted, organic-certified feed. In addition, Acquestra, recommended automated feed controllers from AQ1 Systems (Tasmania, Australia) that feed the shrimp when they are hungry and turn off when the shrimp stop feeding.
“Everybody is even more excited about next year, as we will not only be increasing our farmed area to 16 ponds from 10, but also we will have access to the new fast-growing, genetically resistant strains of Penaeus vannamei now available from Farallon Aquaculture’s (Panama) new branch in Thailand,” noted Iftikhar. In addition, Sureerath Feed Mill has now joined hands with Ridley Corporation in Australia and will be producing a new type of feed containing a revolutionary bacterial floc meal (Novacq®) that dramatically increases growth and health of the shrimp.
Dhedhi reports, “In 2016 we plan to produce about 400 metric tons of premium quality white shrimp with at least two crops and concurrently we are discussing an expansion and public offering with major financial groups to provide capital to further increase capacity into the thousands of tons.”
Aamir Dhedhi, CEO Reliance Aquafarms (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Faisal Iftikhar, CEO Fisheries Development Board (email@example.com).
Monrudee Gruenberg, Managing Director Acquestra, Co., Ltd. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr. Eddy Wong, Chief Consultant at Acquestra (email@example.com).
Source: Email to Shrimp News International. Subject: Release-Pakistan Creates New Shrimp Farming Industry. From: Daniel Gruenberg. January 4, 2016.
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