The value of Myanmar’s seafood exports as of 5 November in the current mini-budget period (October 2021 March 2022) was estimated at US$89.88 million, which increased slightly from $78.35 million in the corresponding period of the last financial year 2020-2021. Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) is attempting to grow fishery export regardless of the COVID-19 disruption on maritime trade, closure of border gates and fuel oil price instability. Despite the open season of offshore fishing, Myanmar’s fishery export industry is facing a series of challenges such as the oil price hike, surge in container shipping rate, the closure of border posts, disruption on maritime trade and the COVID-19 negative impacts. Consequently, it will harm the export sector somehow in the long term.
The high input cost such as fishing net, oil price posed another burden for the industry, coupled with the devaluation of Kyat in the forex market, Mawlamyine Commodity Centre stated. The marketable fish products, especially fish, shrimp, eel and crab from Taninthayi andAyeyawady regions and Rakhine State are primarily exported to foreign markets. Myanmar normally exports fisheries products, such as fish, prawns, and crabs, to markets of 40 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and countries in the European Union. The federation is turning to the Bangladesh market with export potentials at present. MFF is working together with the stockholders in the supply chain to have sustainable export growth in the industry.
The fishery exports through the Sino-Myanmar border have ground to a halt following the consequences and safety measures on the imported seafood amid the COVID-19 pandemic, traders stressed. Myanmar’s fishery export was experiencing a downturn due to the import restrictions triggered by the detection of the COVID-19 on fish imports in China. Chinese market constitutes about 65 per cent of Myanmar’s fishery exports. China accounted for US$254 million out of the overall fishery export value of over $850 million in the FY 2019-2020. At present, China shut down the border areas in wake of the COVID surge in Myanmar. Myanmar Fisheries Federation stated that only the G2G pact can tackle problems faced in the export of farm-raised fish and prawns and ensure smooth freight movement between countries to bolster exports.
The MFF is making concerted efforts to increase fishery export earnings by developing fish farms that meet international standards and adopting advanced fishing techniques. To ensure food safety, the foreign market requires suppliers to obtain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) certificates. To meet international market standards, fishery products must be sourced only from hatcheries that are compliant with GAqP. The MFF is working with fish farmers, processors, and the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation to develop the GAqP system. Processors can screen fishery products for food safety at ISO-accredited laboratories under the Fisheries Department. There are 480,000 acres of fish and prawn breeding farms across the country and more than 120 cold-storage facilities in Myanmar. During the last financial year 2020-2021 (October 2020-September 2021), Myanmar shipped $784.889 million worth of seafood, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar