Project Area

The factors that affect the rural poor in general are further exacerbated in marginal and remote areas where,  land productivity  is  lower, availability  of  inputs and access  to markets  is poor  to non-existent, cropping, horticultural and  livestock  raising  techniques are unimproved due  to  isolation and constraints imposed by arid or mountainous conditions. Balochistan is a fit case for all these factors. It is geographically the largest province (almost 44% of landmass) but least populated (5% of national population). It is also the most under-developed due to low population densities, poor communication infrastructure, historically low investments in human development, and politico-tribal strains. However, it is a province of immense mineral, agriculture and marine riches with huge development potential.

Balochistan’s  two  coastal  districts  of  Gwadar  and  Lasbela cover 760  km  of  the  1,100  km national coast line and have access to some of the richest fishing grounds containing tuna, mackerel, sardines, herrings, shrimps, squids and crabs. However, Balochistan contributes only one sixth of the national fisheries value added. The main reasons are low productivity along the entire value chain, policy/regulatory issues, lack of access to knowledge /capital /technology and poor supportive infrastructure ( jetties/landing sites, auction halls, ice availability and manipulated buyers market ). Most of the fishing fleet consists of small and dilapidated boats with limited endurance and capacity unable to reach richer fishing grounds. About 20% of the boats have deep sea fishing capacity.  Low knowledge and awareness and abysmal  onboard  cold  storage  facilities  coupled  with poor/inappropriate  fishing  gear  results  in  high  wastage  (in  the  range  of 20%  to 50%).  A well entrenched informal and usurious financing system has many fishermen captive forcing them to sell their catch at lower prices to the lender (‘Mole System’). Harbour and auction halls are either missing or poorly operated and fail international health and safety standards. There are around 22 processing units  in  the  region  but mostly  purchase  catch  at  rock-bottom  rates, lack modern  preservation  and packaging techniques and export to low end markets.