EU, US market regulations delay fishery products of breeding enterprises

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Labourers work at fish cold storage factory. Photo: Phoe Khwar

The Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association has called for the Fishery Department to conduct further negotiations with the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), as Myanmar’s breeders are facing difficulties owing to the strict import rules and regulations of the US and EU, said U Tun Aye, chairman of the association.
This was revealed at the regular meeting of the Myanmar Fishery Federation held on 22 May.
EU import regulations stress on the importance of the National Residue Monitoring Plan (NRMP). According to the NRMP, residue tests have to be conducted during the entire chain of production, including during hatching, farming, feeding and processing.
Further, fishery products for exports must be produced by only those hatcheries that are compliant with Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP).
“Currently, officials from EU are still calling into question the facts incorporated into NRMP to the government and private entrepreneurs. Samples have already been sent to them. It took more than a year, but they still have not given the green light to the products of farming businesses,” said U Tun Aye.
“Myanmar’s fishery products have penetrated some foreign markets. Although Myanmar has been granted the Generalised System of Preferences by EU and tax exemption for its fishery products by the US, products from breeding enterprises are not being exported to these markets. We still cannot enjoy the full rights. We need to follow up on the requirements to meet the import criteria,” said U Tun Aye.
Myanmar practises globally marketable soft-shell crabs and prawns farming, but the country is heavily reliant on China’s market.
“Earlier, breeders did not understand GAqP. Now, they are acquainted with this practice, and some of the breeders are trying to implement GAqP to export their products to more foreign markets. Some businessmen are practising mixed farming with fish and other livestock, such as broiler chickens and pigs. This kind of farming is rejected by some foreign countries. To penetrate the global market, GAqP is a must for breeders,” said Daw Toe Nanda Tin, vice president of Myanmar Fishery Federation (MFF).
Russia has also shown interest in Myanmar’s fishery products, besides the EU and the US. Therefore, U Tun Aye has requested government-to-government discussions with Russia.
U Tun Win Myint, director of Yangon Region Fishery Department, noted that complying with EU regulations costs more capital and time, but would help reap long-term benefits. Shareholders in the supply chain need to strictly follow the import regulations.
In the 2017-2018 FY, some 568,227 tonnes of fishery products, worth $717.7 million, were exported, according to MFF statistics.


By May Thet Hnin

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