Farmed fish prices rise on lower production, higher feed costs

The inability to meet domestic demand for fish and a curb by fish farms on breeding has caused the price of farmed fish to rise, says Myanmar Fisheries Federation General Secretary U Win Kyaing.

The drop in overall fish stocks to satisfy local demand has been made worse by the non-availability of wild-caught fish from the lakes during the non-fishing period and fish-breeding season.

Myanmar bans marine fishing from June to August and bans fishing from ponds between May and July to facilitate the breeding season.

U Win Kyaing noted that prices started to creep up last summer on a combination of a stronger US dollar and Saudi Arabia’s ban on Myanmar’s fish exports.

“The Saudi ban on Myanmar’s fish exports led fish farmers to reduce breeding in order to stem their losses,” he said.

That led to a squeeze in local supply. Meanwhile, the stronger dollar made it costlier for fish breeders to import fish feed and other equipment.

As a result, the price of carp has risen to K4,200 per tonne currently from K2,600 per tonne last June, a jump of over 60pc, according to U San Htike, proprietor of Han Thit fish wholesale center at Sanpya Market. He expects that prices of farmed pomfret and catfish will likely rise as well.

According to a 2018 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a Rome-based agency of the United Nations, total fish production globally reached 171 million tonnes in 2016 on stable capture and fisheries production, reduced wastage and continued aquaculture growth.

Data from the report showed that the average marine capture production for Myanmar over the 2005 to 2014 period was 1.16 million tonnes while there was a 7.1pc growth to 1.18 million tonnes in 2016 compared to 2015.

The country’s inland waters capture averaged 745,483 tonnes over the 2005 to 2014 period with a 2.7pc growth to 886,780tonnes in 2016 compared to 2015.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar exported over 560,000 tonnes of fishery products in 2017-18, the highest in 20 years despite the Saudi ban. The exports were worth US$711 million.

In 2016-17, the country exported over 430,000 tonnes of fishery products worth US$600 million and exported 358,000 tonnes worth US$500 million in the 2015-16.

Source: Myanmar Times

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