Pantanaw Township in Ayeyawady Region will have the largest aquatic industry in Southeast Asia when the multiple fish farming projects being carried out are completed. The projects involve all the different sectors of aquatic operations, from hatching, raising fingerlings, fish farming, processing, cold storage, feeder factories and laboratories for research and development. The project will establish an aquatic industry with a production capacity of over USD 3 billion, and generate over 6000 jobs. So, it is obvious that its early completion matters very much.
Sadly, Myanmar cannot vie with its neighbours for a larger market share, despite the high global demand for aquatic products. The country has plenty of aquatic resources from its rivers, inland lakes and coastal seas. But weaknesses in various sectors have denied us from gaining a competitive edge. So, if we carefully look into the causes behind these weaknesses, we will find that many of them originate in the production sector, as the quality of our products rarely meet international standard, and we lack mass production techniques to meet consumer demand on time. Also, we are still unfamiliar with good farming practices. Those are some of the reasons that put us behind others in the race.
“We still lag behind others in fishing, farming and value-added production technologies, amidst the plenty of aquatic resources we have,” said Vice President U Henry Van Thio during his inspection of the Ayeyawady Integrated Food Industry Complex. Apart from indicating the current trends in the country’s aquatic industry, the Vice President said, “In our competition with our neighbors, we need master plans that must be jointly implemented by the government and private sector, after selecting appropriate sites for setting up aquatic farming zones in states and regions.” In this regard, we need faster action in effectively setting up such zones for the benefit of local and national concerns.
Basically, the production sector is responsible for improving product quality, until reaching international standards and increasing quantity to ensure meeting global customer demands. Subsequently, the production sector needs capital, technology and adoption of good farming practices. So, the task may look enormous, but nothing is unconquerable, and we will continue our quest for a larger share of the external market through the inclusive participation of all stakeholders.