Govt urged to set up trout fish export processing units in KP
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In the high-altitude Malakand and Hazara divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government promotes trout fish farming as a sustainable livelihood source, but the lack of processing units and value addition hampers exports.

“Trout is one of the most in-demand fish in the country and abroad,” said Zubair Ali, the province’s director of fisheries department to WealthPK.

According to him, the KP government is subsidizing the establishment of trout farms in the two regions by 50%. He said the commonly found varieties of trout fish in KP were brown trout, rainbow trout (95% of trout fish farms are of rainbow trout because they grow best in hatchery or control conditions); golden rainbow trout (which was introduced to cold water aquaculture in KP recently); and sparctic trout fish (recently introduced to Swat trout aquaculture systems from Italy as a good competitor to other trout varieties already available on the market).

In Mansehra, Swat, Shangla, Kohistan, Dir, Chitral and Battagram districts, the provincial government has established trout hatcheries, he said, adding that quality trout processing units should also be established in the region so that trout can be exported in multiple forms for the greater benefit of the people and country. Establishing trout processing units in the region will not only boost the fisheries sector in the province, but also create jobs.

As a result of the floods in August 2022, he said that these farms had been severely damaged. In addition, he noted that farmers were also worried about rising input costs, such as feed.

Water pollution due to fertilizers, pesticides on farms and municipal sewage discharge is not only affecting fish population in rivers but also causing farm mortality, according to Zubair Ali. 

Due to its growing demand worldwide, Pakistan could export rainbow trout in large quantities if it focused on its growth, processing, and value addition.