By May Thet Hnin
FISH breeders are struggling with soaring prices of raw materials used in aquafeed production.
“Locally-produced feed stuff price keeps rising and it seems it would not come down. Prices of imported soy bean and other goods are also on the high side, while the US dollar is gaining in local currency market. Fish suppliers do not earn a great profit on account of high price of raw feed stuff.
This being so, the number of fish and prawn breeders have decreased. They are struggling to survive in this business when feed price keeps soaring”, said U Zaw Lin from Myanmar Fish Entrepreneurs Association.
The prices of primary raw materials used in aquafeed, such as broken rice, corn and bran hit a three-year record high. Last year, a viss (3.6 lb) of bran fetched only Ks350. The price has reached up to nearly Ks600 per viss. Meanwhile, the price of corn also increased from Ks410 to above Ks650.
The price of broken rice is also up from Ks420 to Ks590. Fish meal also fetches Ks2,500. Therefore, most of the traders cannot afford to purchase them.
Besides, there is a shortage of aquafeed raw materials in the market, along with high price of aquafeed.
In order to produce a visa of fish, it costs over Ks2,000 for aqua feed. There is no equilibrium between market price and input cost, traders criticized.
“Corn export to China also harms this industry. Chinese merchants are preparing to buy corn from Upper Myanmar which will be harvested in October, November and December. Those buyers have even started to offer prices”, said Dr. Thet Hmu, chair of Myanmar Aquafeed Association.
Aquafeed is worth 75 per cent of fish and shrimp production cost. The entire livestock sector is affected from high price of feed stuff. It might even harm export and local consumption in the long term.
Myanmar’s livestock feed mainly depends on agriculture by-products, such as broken rice, bran, sesame oil cake, bean oil cake and corn. Broken rice is shipped to foreign countries.
Raw beans are exported and the number of oil millers are remarkably declining. Corn is also purchased by China. At present, breeders are bitterly battered by high price and shortage of aquafeed.
The demand on imported aquafeed pellets are on a sharp drop due to the US dollar exchange rate appreciating.
Myanmar’s fish industry primarily breeds carp, rohm and catla. Striped catfish also has a potential for export market, prompting breeders to farm them.