Fishery businessmen eye value-added products to increase income

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A fisherman works in Ye Township, Taninthayi Region. Fishery businessmen plan to introduce value-added products to increase income. Photo: Htut Hut (Ye)

Although Myanmar has increased its volume of fishery exports in the past two years, the income has not increased significantly.
To remedy this situation, fishery businessmen have planned to introduce value-added products.
Myanmar exports only fish and prawn raw materials. The export quality and value is remarkably on the downward trend compared to the neighbouring countries, said businessmen.
“We must keep introducing value-added products and produce marketable export items to boost exports,” said U Win Kyaing, secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF).
In the 2011-2012 fiscal year (FY), fishery exports were registered at 386,981.324 metric tonnes with an estimated value of $653.85 million. A metric tonne of fishery products was worth $1,700 on an average. Some 376,845 metric tonnes of fishery, valued at $652.84 million, were shipped to foreign countries in the 2012-2013 FY, at an estimated value of $1,732 per tonne.
Nevertheless, in the 2016-2017 FY, some 438,7000 metric tonnes of fishery exports fetched only $605.82 million, at an estimated value of $1,380 per tonne.
During the 2017-2018 FY, some 568,227 tonnes of fishery exports, worth $717.7 million and valued at $1,215 per tonne, were exported, according to MFF statistics. Despite the increasing volume every year, the export value does not go up owing to the possible shipment of raw materials only. Fishery income is likely to reach up to $2,000 million in two years, only if there is value-addition, U Win Kyaing pointed out.
Value-added exports will help enhance the country’s revenue and more job opportunities will emerge, he maintained.
To make value-added products, capital, intensive technology and machines are required. Enterprises from the whole supply chain, including farming, hatchery, feed stuff processing, and cold storages and processing enterprises have to upgrade their working process altogether. However, it is difficult to change the entire supply chain, businessmen noted. In addition to advanced technology, demand plays a crucial role. Businessmen are worried about the fish market. “It is certain that livestock breeding is the basis of value-added exports. To improve their market share, exporters must be in touch with producers,” said an official from Myanmar Fish Farmers Association.
Moreover, the government should provide subsidies or loans, link with foreign loans or banks and fix land use permit. Of the more than 480,000 acres of fish and prawn lakes across the country, more than 370,000 acres of lakes are illegitimate as they are using farm land for fish farming.


By May Thet Hnin


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