EU TRADE BOOST — Fisheries and pulses sectors targeted for possible export surge

Workers process raw seafood at a factory in Yangon. Photo: Ministry of Livestocks and Fisheries
Workers process raw seafood at a factory in Yangon. Photo: Ministry of Livestocks and Fisheries

THE EU-Myanmar Trade Development Programme was launched on Tuesday with the aim of strengthening Myanmar’s economy and supporting the country’s return to the global trade market.
The main objective of the three-year technical programme is to assist both the public and private sectors to seize new trading opportunities and thereby generate sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Myanmar, according to a press release issued by the EU on Tuesday.
The programme will run until December 2017, with the budget of 10.5 million euro (US$11.82 million) funded by the European Union and co-funded by Germany.
The press release said that the programme will focus on the fisheries sector and the beans and pulses sector, with strong potential for ramping up exports to the EU.
Fishery sector exports to the EU are already established, while beans and pulses will be required to meet EU regulations regarding post-harvest handling and packaging procedures.
“The EU would be a welcome customer of Myanmar’s fishery sector in the future. But we must overcome weaknesses in capital, infrastructure and technology in order to be able to produce fishery products which meet EU exports standards,” U Win Kyaing, the General-Secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF), told The Global New Light of Myanmar.
“The greatest weakness of the Myanmar’s fishery sector lies in it lacking a master plan that was developed with the government’s assistance,” he added.
Since sanctions were lifted in 2012 and the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) restored, the EU has created many opportunities for Myanmar’s fishery sector as it is a potentially lucrative market.
Since then, the EU has given the green light to the country’s 20 cold storage facilities that meet EU standards, allowing the factories to export their products to EU.
In May, the EU said it would allocate Myanmar’s aquaculture sector with a budget of 20 million euro (US$22.52) in 2016, as part of an attempt to breathe life into the country’s fish and prawn farming sector, according to the MFF. The sector was badly hit during the floods that swept through the country in July and August, causing about K90 billion (US$70.03 million) in damage nationwide.
At a high-level disaster recovery forum in early September in Yangon, a spokesperson from privately-run fisheries businesses estimated that the sector needed about K5.6 billion ($6.30 million) to replenish farmers’ stocks with fingerlings.
Some have said that it will take at least three years for the sector to recover from the damage caused by the floods.
Under the programme, both local and international experts will facilitate technical assistance and capacity building, which will include the holding of
workshops, study visits and the the procurement of laboratory equipment.— GNLM

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