MYANMAR : Fish farmers in Myanmar have been forced to develop new strategies that would allow them to face certain challenges, such as rising fish feed prices and drop of exports to Saudi Arabia.
In this context, fish farmers are breeding fish to meet demand from China and doing their best to lower production costs, The Myanmar Times reported.
U Thet Muu, chair of the Myanmar Fish and Prawn Feed Manufacturers Association, explains that fish feed made from bran has risen 30 per cent in some places and that export demand from Saudi Arabia has tumbled since the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) in April suspended temporarily fish and prawn imports from Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India after inspections at fishery facilities in Vietnam revealed poor hygiene standards.
Official statistics reveal that fishery exports to Saudi Arabia bring annual revenues of USD 25 million-USD 35 million to Myanmar and that more than 21,000 tonnes of Myanmar fish and prawn are shipped yearly to Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia is the biggest buyer of Myanmar fisheries. Since it suspended imports, the domestic fisheries sector has taken a big hit,” said Daw Toe Nanda Tin, vice chair of the Myanmar Fisheryies Federation (MFF).
The executive pointed out that the industry has started breeding freshwater catfish, which is in high demand in China.
In addition, farms are also exploring ways to reduce production costs to offset rising feed prices and some are upgrading to more modern breeding techniques while others are working with the government to reduce the disease rate in farmed fish.
For his part, given these issues, Win Kyaing, general secretary of MFF stated that the government and private sector need to cooperate to enable Myanmar's fishery sector to access opportunities in China-Myanmar economic corridor project.
According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar produced a total of 5.7 million tonnes of fish in 2016-17. Freshwater fish contributed around 47per cent to total production during the period.
During the year, Myanmar exported close to 440,000 tonnes of fish worth USD 605.8 million to 40 different countries, which is about 8 per cent of total production.