Fish exports set to take a dive

Poor investment prospects and production could lead to a US$100 million shortfall in estimated fisheries exports this year, industry experts said.

Fishery exports during the 2012-13 fiscal year totalled about $650 million worth of fish being sold to China, Thailand and as far as the Middle East and US, according to government data. This year however, experts believe that figure will fall 15 percent to about $550 million, well short of the industry’s revenue target of $700 million.

“Not only is income down, but so is export tonnage. We have earned only about $400 million in revenues so far this year and based on that we will not meet last year’s number,” said U Toe Nandar Tin, treasurer of the Myanmar Fisheries Processors and Exporters Association of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.

In the first ten months of the fiscal year, 280,000 metric tonnes of fish exports generated $451.13 million worth of revenue, according to the Fish Inspection and Quality Control Department Division of the Department of Fisheries. The figure falls short of the same period last year when income was $84 million higher, while total fish production reached 308,000 tonnes.

Myanmar Fisheries Federation adviser U Han Tun said the problem stems from a lack of fishing equipment, leading to lower production and higher local prices. At the same time, fish farmers lack capital to expand their operations and investors are showing no interest in the sector, which also suffered from poor transportation, electricity supply and inadequate banking systems.

“Investors come and look at our farms and they like what they see. But they don’t invest,” said U Han Tun.

Within the fisheries sector, only soft crabs and eels exported cross-border to China were showing a rise in export volume and income. Fish and shrimp bound for Japan, China Hong Kong, Vietnam and the US meanwhile attracted limited demand.

Source: Myanmar Times

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