Fishing industry making headlines for better and for worse

The fishing and aquaculture industry in Myanmar continues to make headlines for better or for worse.

The sector is of vital importance to Myanmar. Fish accounts for 60 percent of the animal sourced food consumed in the country. As reported in our previous edition, export earnings from the fisheries sector over the last 19-20 fiscal year, reached a record-breaking of approximately USD 810 million, a close to 20% increase year-on-year according to statistics released by the Commerce Ministry.

This week, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled a newly developed mobile phone app for fish farmers called Shwe Ngar (Golden Fish). The app was launched during a virtual event attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation Department of Fisheries, and of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.
According to the release, the Shwe Ngar app will “provide fish farming families with timely information on how to stock and feed fish, fish health, and aquaculture technologies, as well as nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene practices”, while “connecting fish farmers to suppliers, traders, and others in order to strengthen the aquaculture-based food system in Myanmar”.

But the exact same day, it was also reported that Saudi Arabia had blocked about 30 containers of fish and fishery products originating from Myanmar at its port. We had reported that Myanmar was in talks with the Kingdom to resume fish imports following a ban dating from April 2018. It seems Myanmar jumped the gun sending the containers while not having secured the green light from the Saudi Arabia Food & Drug Administration (SFDA). The matter was still to be resolved with the Myanmar side showing optimism that the nearly quarter-million dollar value of the total shipment will not get spoiled.

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