Export earnings from the fisheries sector in the period from 1 October, 2018 to 20 September, 2019 in the 2018-19 financial year reached US$709 million, an increase of $21.9 million from the year-ago period, according to statistics released by the Commerce Ministry.
In 11 months of this FY, the export volume of fishery products crossed 540,000 metric tons, according to 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 fisheries products, such as fish, prawns, and crabs, are exported 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, UAE, as well as Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s exports to Saudi Arabia account for 30 per cent of its farm-raised fish exports and 40 per cent of rohu exports.
The Myanmar Fisheries Federation 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 2013-2014 FY, 330,000 tons worth $480 million in the 2014-2015 FY, 360,000 tons worth $500 million in the 2015-2016 FY, 430,000 tons worth $600 million in the 2016-2017, and 560,000 tons worth $700 million in the 2017-2018 FY, according to the Commerce Ministry.
MFF Vice President Dr 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 as a large-scale project to get access to Project Bank loans, according to the MFF.
(Translated by Eim Myat Mon)