By Nyein Nyein
Myanmar Livestock Federation (MLF) has requested the National-Level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (on 21 September for the feedstuff processing factories to keep running and to ensure smooth flow of trade.
The Ministry of Health and Sports has issued a ‘stay at home’ order for all the townships in Yangon Region although the employees of food, meat and fish cold storage plants are allowed to go to their work. However, those employees of animal feed processing factories are mandatory to stay at home.
Myanmar Livestock Sector plays a pivotal role in nutrition efficiency and food security of the people. Myanmar has a total of 388 million chickens, including broilers and layer chickens, 9.5 million draft cattle, 0.11 million dairy cattle, 1.8 million buffaloes, 2.1 million small ruminants, 5.4 million pigs and 8.9 million other poultry animals, MLF stated. About 4,300 tonnes of feed are daily produced for the livestock industry. Moreover, the factories are running at full capacity to fulfil the requirement of daily feed consumption.
If they are forced to suspend their businesses, it will possibly incur the shortage of feed problem and losses and hurt the production. Moreover, it might negatively affect market stability and food security. Additionally, the livestock industry must strictly take preventive measures for biosecurity measures to control the viral disease of animals. Therefore, the feed processing factories have already enhanced biosecurity and taken precautionary measures for the employees to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The food and cold-storage plants have been permitted to continue running, the ministry’s order stated. However, the logistics of livestock inputs such as feed, baby chicks, hogs, meat and dairy products including in the supply chain processes are restricted to a certain extent and trade disruption occurs. The livestock sector is required to maintain market stability for the people to have self-sufficiency amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The industry needs daily inputs. And the region itself cannot cover the total sales of the whole industry. The products are required to be distributed to the regions and states outside Yangon, MLF stated.
The restriction on the flow of input and products can result in the enormous impacts on the livestock industry and food security for a short and long term. Hence, the federation called for the permit for animal feed processing factories which is related to food, fish and meat cold-storage plants to keep running and to exempt the employees engaged in the industry from the Stay-at-Home order.
Furthermore, the federation also asked to coordinate the relevant departments and organizations to have smooth trade within the region and to the states and regions outside Yangon. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)