May 12, 2020
Myanmar aquaculture sector asks for gov't aid in face of 'export collapse'
Myanmar's aquaculture and fisheries sector is calling on government for aid in the face of "export collapse" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Exports have collapsed. All international orders have been cancelled and we have not received any new orders from the European Union (EU) since they are all locked down," U Myo Nyunt, secretary of the Myanmar Fisheries Products Processors & Exporters Association (MPEA), lamented, as reported by the Myanmar Times via The Fish Site.
Forty-five percent of the country's aquaculture and fisheries exports are destined for the EU and North America-which were forecast to be worth $750 million in 2020-while the rest are taken by China and Thailand.
Nyunt said that some cold storage facilities have already shut down, while factories are no longer allowed to operate. "Jobs are dwindling", he added.
Fishing and aquaculture activities are expected to grind to a halt in June-August, the MPEA said, as per report.
As a consequence, the fishing and aquaculture industry is projected to incur the largest loss in its history during the six-month period between March and August.
Nyunt called on the government to extend aid to the industry.
"Tourism operators and garment manufacturers are receiving government loans and aid from the EU as a result of COVID-19. But aquaculture and fisheries are not in the government's list of sectors most impacted by the virus, and we have not received EU subsidies even though we contribute significantly to exports," Nyunt pointed out in the report.