8 APR 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times -  Exports of Myanmar's fisheries products to other countries have nearly stopped since the COVID-19 pandemic started and factories processing frozen fisheries products are now facing difficulties keeping their operations running, industry officials say.

"Currently, buyers have almost stopped placing orders. Moreover, demand has declined in many countries. Also, the signing of new export agreements has stopped while the existing agreements have been suspended," said U Tun Aye, chair of the Myanmar Marine Product Producers and Exporters Association.

Exports of fisheries products to the EU have totally halted and there is only a little demand for lower-priced products from China, U Tun Aye said. Myanmar's fisheries products from the sea are mainly exported to Europe and Asian countries while freshwater products are exported to Arab countries.

Currently, owners of processing factories with many workers are worried that they will no longer be able to pay for their workers' wages if the situation continues, he said.

U Tun Aye said some countries such as the US and Singapore have prepared financial-aid packages that includes money for workers affected by the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and suggested Myanmar should consider a similar move.

Between October 2019 and February 2020 of the current fiscal year, Myanmar exported nearly 340,000 tonnes of marine products worth more than US$412 million (K572 billion). – Translated