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Meat industry urged to modernise to counter swine fever

Myanmar needs to modernise its meat industry to counter the spread of African swine fever (ASF), insiders who attended conferences organised last week by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) agreed.

Besides addressing the imminent threat ASF posed to the country, the modernisation of the sector can further bring about higher production and exports, which would also benefit meat and poultry farmers and the economy overall.

The ASF virus was first detected in Myanmar two months ago in the country’s northern Shan state. The highly contagious virus, with a mortality rate of over 90 percent, has caused loss of million dollars across Asia in countries like China, South Korea, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Supplying more than 85pc of Myanmar’s animal protein consumption, the pork and poultry industry represents a substantial portion of the economy. The government and relevant stakeholders have crafted out a Myanmar Pork Industry Emergency Plan with an aim to reduce losses and quickly rebuild the industry.

But the ASF also opens up a US$800 million opportunity to modernise farms and upgrade the pork supply chain infrastructure. “While ASF poses a serious and acute threat to Myanmar’s pork sector, it also presents the country with an opportunity to establish a modern pork supply chain and industry,” said Dr Ye Tun Win, Director General of Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Irrigation in a statement.

However, the IFC cautioned that the country’s regulatory framework is a potential “deterrent” to modernisation given that the process requires multiple licenses and recommendations. In that light, the IFC seeks to support the government by channeling investments into Myanmar’s pork and poultry industries “through providing solutions to existing and potential clients along the pork value chain,” said Rana Karadsheh, IFC Asia Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services.

The two conferences held on October 1 and 3 in Yangon and Naypyitaw respectively were organised by the IFC in partnership with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), Myanmar Livestock Federation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.

The event gathered around 100 participants including farmer representatives, meat processors and traders, and government officials.

Source: Myanmar Times

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