In early December 2012, Agribusiness Support Fund conducted a baseline survey in Muzaffargarh, Multan and Khanewal districts and interviewed public and private sector stakeholders including small and big fish farmers.
The interviews revealed that fishery is the most neglected but potentially a very profitable sector of Multan region. The value chain development team identified the problems that fishery faced in the area and researched their solutions. Based on their initial research, they also developed briefers for different prospective interventions in fisheries sector; such as installation of aero tubes, feed mills and extruders and development of tilapia fish hatchery. These briefers proposed various solutions for promoting fisheries such as provision of improved oxygenated pond water, improving feed efficiency and avoiding its wastage and introduction of high production and full of nutrition fish breeds. The team sensitized fish farmers on importance of using new technologies to improve productivity in fish farming. The team also guided them on how Agribusiness Support Fund could support them, through different matching grants, in using the new technologies so that the extraordinary business potential of this value chain in Multan region can be exploited.
It also came out that fish farmers were many in number but did not have a platform to discuss their problems, exchange their experiences, share the best practices of the sector, voice their concerns to the public authorities and use the economy of scale to their leverage.
As a result of continuous meetings and deliberation sessions, as many as 25 progressive fish farmers agreed to get organized and get their association registered as Muzaffargarh Fish Farmers Association (MFFA). Normally it takes a long time to form their association. However, with regular follow-ups, the members were able to get their association registered in about 17 days only. The news of ASF supporting the fisheries sector in Muzaffargarh was so overwhelming that two fish farmers, Mr Shaihd and Mr Salahuddin, are going to Thailand for training on management of tilapia hatchery, in view of prospective support of The Project for development of hatchery of this very productive breed, newly being introduced in Pakistan.
Thus, the ripple effects of the untiring efforts of The Project in mobilizing and motivating the fish farmers, soon culminated into a big force to get them organized, build their capacity and be ready to tap the enormous potential of fisheries sector in the region
Capitalizing on the phenomenon “Two Heads are better than One”, the ripple effects of the untiring efforts of Agribusiness Support Fund team were evident, in mobilizing and motivating the fish farmers in Multan region, culminated into a big force to get the farmers organized, build their capacity via the available support from ASF at their best.opportunity to explore new markets for Pakistani products.