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Aquaculture exports limited by lack of test labs

The lack of proper laboratory facilities is limiting exports of aquaculture products to the European Union (EU).

Aquaculture exports to the EU make up 8 percent of total fisheries exports, with the main consumers being migrant workers in the 28-member EU.

Myanmar Fishery Federation vice-chair Daw Toe Nanda Tin said the lack of proper laboratory facilities to test for contamination of aquaculture products has held back more exports to the EU.

“It cannot be done in laboratories in Myanmar yet. It’s because of that. The US also has some regulations on natural environment,” she said.

Fisheries Department deputy director U Thet Naing said only 20pc of the 125 fish processing plants in the country have been cleared to export to the EU. “Stringent EU regulations concerning food safety and handling is holding back more fish processors from selling their products,” he said.

U Thet Naing said EU officials make on-site visits to the processors and inspect their freezers and breeding ponds. “They only allow them to sell to the EU if all procedures conform to EU criteria,” he added.

Myanmar Fishery Federation general secretary U Win Kyaing said the processors need to try harder to conform to EU standards and take advantage of the 13.7pc tax exemption given to Myanmar for such products.

He said exports to the EU include tilapia, giant sea perch and white prawns. The EU has since May this year allowed Myanmar to export 10 aquaculture products.

Myanmar currently exports aquaculture products to the UK, Italy, France, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Sweden, Greek, Belgium and Germany.

Source: Myanmar Times

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