By Nyein Nyein
In a bid to promote local fish consumption amid a slump in foreign demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, fishery products are sold through mobile market trucks in regions and states, said U Myo Aung, director of the Cooperative Department. The Cooperative Department sells fish without taking any profit in regions and states, in cooperation with the Fisheries Department, Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) and the cooperatives.
“This move is to remedy the drop in foreign exports and local fish consumption amid the COVID-19 crisis. Normally, Myanmar ships fishery products to over 54 foreign countries. The pandemic affected fish exports. Moreover, local fish consumption showed a drop to 65 per cent in December 2020 owing to the closure of the restaurants, hotels, festivities, wedding and donation events and transportation difficulties,” U Myo Aung affirmed.
Additionally, it aimed to offer fish at a low price to the consumers, he added.
“For instance, the fish worth of K5,000 per viss (a viss equals 1.6kg) in the wholesale market is priced above K10,000 per viss in the retail market. The Cooperative Department has spread its distribution networks to offer the fish at a fair price to the people,” he elaborated.
Besides mobile market trucks, the traders can buy the fish through the Cooperative Department. Over the past two weeks, about 1,500 visses of mrigal carp, tilapia, perch, pangasius and other fish are sent to the regions and states, generating K50 million. The MFF also affirmed that the federation could provide fishery products when necessary for the mobile market scheme in regions and states.
“The federation is selling both the wild-caught and farm-raised fish in wholesale markets. Either the Commerce Ministry or Cooperative Departments can buy the fish at a wholesale price any time. We are ready to supply the fish products across the country,” U Win Kyaing said. The fishery products can be available at a fair price for the low-income people as well, he continued.
U Win Kyaing ensured that “the federation can supply the plenty of fish of any size at a fair price. They can buy the fish via the wholesale market at any time to expand the fish market. The federation will participate in this. Both salt and fresh water fish can be daily purchased as necessary at Kyimyintdine Sanpya Fishmarket and Shwe Padauk Fishmarket in Yangon Region. The consumers in lower Myanmar regions; Ayeyawady, Yangon, Taninthayi and Mon and Rakhine, states highly demand the fish and fish production also has risen. Nevertheless, people in central and upper Myanmar regions, where there is small fish production, have less fish consumption. Therefore, the fish are required to be sent to those regions, said U Win Kyaing.
The breeders are floundering due to the COVID-19 impacts and decrease in price. Typically, Myanmar has daily consumption of about 600,000 visses of farmed fish. The local fish consumption plunged to 60-65 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, fishery exports to the second-largest buyer China, the closure of border trade with the primary buyer Thailand in Hteekhee and Mawtaung areas and 50 per cent drop in fish prices harm the fishery exports.
The federation expects to reach fishery export target of US$1 billion in the current Financial Year 2020-2021. Nevertheless, the fishery exports touched a low of $258.9 million between 1 October 2020 and 8 January 2021, which plunged from $282.85 million registered a year-ago period. The figures reflected a decrease of $23.883 million over the Q1 of the current FY compared with the last FY2019-2020, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)