The Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) President Daw Toe Nandar Tin and Vice President U Win Kyaing asked the government to issue a directive to restrict integrated poultry and fish farming at the 30th regular meeting of Vice President U Myint Swe with private entrepreneurs, held on Saturday at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
According to MFF officials, about 80 per cent of such mixed farming is being conducted with the help of foreigners. This kind of integrated poultry and fish farming is not in line with Good Aquaculture Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and it can harm the export of farm-raised fish, they said.
“Moreover, it poses food safety risks and is not suitable for consumption. Furthermore, it can harm the country’s National Aquaculture Development Plan to build a sustainable aquaculture sector in Myanmar,” they added.
Daw Toe Nandar Tin said the federation has asked the government to tackle problems faced in the export of farm-raised fish and prawns through G2G pacts and ensure smooth freight movement between countries to bolster exports.
According to the MFF, integrated poultry and fish farming cannot ensure food safety, which is a requirement for export. Therefore, the federation has asked for the formulation of a law to restrict that kind of mixed farming. Fish farming must be conducted on a large-scale to get access to Project Bank loans, according to the MFF.
“Additionally, offshore oil and gas companies are required to adhere to the prescribed rules and regulations, so they do not affect offshore aquaculture. The loss of fish resources could damage offshore and inshore fishing businesses and the livelihood of marine workers. Therefore, those businesses should be issued permits only after careful and systematic assessment by international experts of their environmental impact,” according to the MFF.
Export earnings from the fisheries sector in the period from 1 October to 30 September in the 2018-2019 financial year crossed US$731.9 million, according to statistics released by the Commerce Ministry.
This year, fishery exports have risen, but the price offered is much lower than that during the same period in the previous fiscal, said an official from the Commerce Ministry.
Myanmar exports fisheries products, such as fish, prawns, and crabs, to markets in 40 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and countries in the European Union.
Earlier, only fish caught in the wild were allowed to be exported to the EU market. At present, Myanmar is exporting farmed fish, prawns, and crabs to the EU.
Saudi Arabia’s suspension of fish imports from Myanmar, beginning April last year, has affected rohu fish suppliers. Myanmar keeps only 25 per cent of rohu fish for local consumption and exports the remaining 75 per cent to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, as well as Bangladesh.
The MFF is making concerted efforts to increase fishery export earnings by developing fish farming lakes which meet international standards and adopting advanced fishing techniques.
There are over 247,000 acres of fish farms and 240,000 prawn breeding farms across the country. Myanmar exported 340,000 tons of fishery products worth $530 million in the 2013-2014FY, 330,000 tons worth $480 million in the 2014-2015FY, 360,000 tons worth $500 million in the 2015-2016FY, 430,000 tons worth $600 million in the 2016-2017FY, and 560,000 tons worth $700 million in the 2017-2018FY, according to the Commerce Ministry.—GNLM (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)