Myanmar has been exporting seafood from Rakhine State to the international markets beyond domestic consumption and an annual export of the marketable soft-shell crab is estimated at over 600 tonnes. The soft-shell crabs from Rakhine State are delivered to the US, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and the countries in Europe. The crab processing companies produce 15 tonnes per month and approximately 200 tonnes per year in Rakhine State. The crabs are sent to cold storage facilities in Hlaingthaya Industrial Park for good packaging. They are conveyed to Europe and other foreign trade partners. The prices of soft-shell crab are worth around 7 US$dollars per kg. Rakhine State seafood exporters ships a full container load of sliced fish, processed squid and ready-made shrimp cake to Australia, France and Hong Kong SAR every two months.
The exports of soft-shell crabs by the companies in Thandwe city earned US$2.5 million in the 2018- 2019 financial year, $3.8 million in the 2019-2020 FY and $4.66 million in the 2020-2021FY. The soft-shell crab cultivation businesses are found in Ponnagyun and Taungup townships, employing over 1,200 residents. If there is an adequate electric supply in those townships, food processing companies can boost the quality of the products, increase job opportunities and generate revenue. Consequently, it will reduce the production cost as well. The hard-shell crabs are primarily supplied by Pyapon, Bogale, Myaungmya and Labutta townships in Ayeyawady Region and Kyauktan, Kayan and Thongwa in Yangon Region and townships in Rakhine State. They are mostly sent to Chinese and Thai markets. “Rakhine is the main producer of fishery products.
If there is better infrastructure, it will bring about the development in the socio-economy of the state. There is a shortage of power supply in Rakhine State so it has a barrier to make value- added products. We can add core product offerings through value-adds. Over 600 tonnes of soft-shell crabs are placed in European markets. RakhineState Department of Fisheries also focus on the aquaculture to help protect the endangered species population,” said U Thet Oo, head of the department. The department has been implementing the hatcheries for fish, shrimp and soft-shell crab. The companies purchase 80 g sized crabs from Sittway, Ponnagyun, Minbya, Taungup, Yanbye, An and Manaung townships and after 45 days of cultivation, the soft shell crabs are ready to place on market. They are processed in Thandwe cold stroage and cold storage plants in Hlaingthaya Industrial Park in Yangon and they are transported to external market through cold chain. A company usually breeds about 400,000-500,000 crabs in the pond. The Department of Fisheries set three-month offseason for catching crabs between February and April in ordedr to protect the local species.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar