17 MAR 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times - The government has launched a national roadmap for the aquaculture industry to outline the ways it intends to develop the sector and to illustrate the market opportunities and hurdles.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation launched the National Aquaculture Development Plan 2019-2023 on March 13.
The plan aims to provide policy and institutional framework for sustainable development of Myanmar's aquaculture sector.
As Myanmar's aquaculture sector is reducing its reliance on capture fishery, the National Aquaculture Development Plan will highlight the list of actionable priorities to address the needs and utilise the tangible benefits of the sector, said agriculture minister U Aung Thu.
The National Aquaculture Development Plan will be in close alignment with other economic development plans such as the Agricultural Development and Investment Strategy, Multi-sectoral National Plan of Action on Nutrition and Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan.
The MSDP is the economic blueprint by the NLD-led administration.
Although there is strong potential in the aquaculture sector, its development has been hampered by various factors including its previous isolation from global markets, lack of investment in infrastructure, insufficient access to finance and a shortage of technical skills and know-how, stated the roadmap.
The output of aquaculture increased incrementally at 4 percent every year from 0.75 million metric tonnes to 1.13 million metric tonnes between 2008 and 2016 while the output of capture fishery rapidly rose at 7.47pc annually from 2.77 million metric tonnes to 4.74 million metric tonnes.
Since 2016 the growth rate of aquaculture has risen markedly at 3.38pc in 2016-2017, and 7.79pc in 2017-2018, while that of capture fishery decreased at 1.1pc in 2016-2017, and 2.6pc in 2017-2018.
The NADP also revealed the strengths of the aquaculture sector, notably a large and young labour workforce, as well as surplus fallow and vacant land in various states and regions which also possess water resources to develop the industry.
Weaknesses are primarily the limited capacity of feed production and an insufficient supply of high-quality feed, poorly integrated value chain with limited market access and integration, poor farm management and lack of technical capacity.
Developing the aquaculture sector will create plenty of employment opportunities in rural areas.
The lack of aquaculture is also due to limited access to finance and capital, increasing input costs making operations less competitive, a weak investment climate, and poor transport and energy infrastructure.
"The ministry intends to work with all relevant government ministries and institutions, small-holding fish farmers and private sector aquaculture firms, private sector associations, academic institutions, NGOs and development partners to implement the NADP effectively and efficiently," said U Myint Zin Htoo, deputy director general of the fisheries department.
The NADP outlines a broad range of activities to achieve as many as 33 aquaculture development targets. It has a budget of US$125.7 million from 2019 to 2023.