Concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic in our country are expected to be eased with the arrival of the first batch of vaccines from India yesterday.
The coming weeks will bring a ray of rosy hope to put our economy which was hit by the pandemic on the road to recovery.
The fishery sector occupies an important place in our country’s economy. Our country has a lot of potential to earn billions of dollars from fisheries export.
We welcome the steps to be taken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation to find possible export markets during and after the COVID-19 period through government-to-government connections.
The government has granted 10 GAqP certificates for over 9,300 acres of fish, prawn and crab farms, and GAqP standards have been drafted in line with ASEAN standards.
At the same time, we need to encourage emergence of private laboratories meeting international standards for aquaculture products, capacity building for workers in the marketing and processing sector and to upgrade the cold storage facilities.
Before the pandemic, some farms got the opportunity to export aquaculture products to the EU after good laboratory results for chemical residues in aquaculture products from Myanmar.
For foreign investments to come in, we need to show first that we have the potential to develop from all sides.
To ensure the safety of all food exported to the EU, they require suppliers to have Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) certificates.
To put our fishery sector on the right path to recovery in a short period, we need to attract foreign investments which can also offer modern technology. For foreign investments to come in, we need to show first that we have the potential to develop from all sides.
Everyone is obliged to cooperate to gain business confidence and to create a good environment for business.
The loss of domestic demand would be recovered when restaurants are reopened and public events are allowed in the post-COVId-19 era.
Amidst COVID-19, there have been some positive outcomes such as revival of local food networks thanks to logistics with health guidelines and increases in local sales through direct marketing and deliveries.
However, fishing communities in coastal areas, factories, workers and businesses are still suffering from negative consequences of the pandemic.
There is an urgent need for those who are taking a leading role in both public and private fishery sectors to coordinate, plan and implement effective short- and long-term responses to the pandemic.