Illegal drinking water plants choking Mandalay bottlers


Source: The Myanmar Times

Date: 15 February, 2018

Illegal bottled water manufacturers are giving legitimate bottlers in Mandalay Region unfair competition, said Ma Su, chair of the Myanmar Drinking Water Entrepreneurs Association.

Ma Su said that only about 200 of the more than 6000 bottled water manufacturers in the region have permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

She underscored the need to level the playing field because illegal manufacturers can sell bottled water for K200 to K250 each while legitimate processors cannot charge less than K300.

Ma Su said illegal manufacturers can sell their products cheaply because they do not comply with FDA standards.

Some of the factories do not follow good manufacturing practices and their working areas are sometimes near toilets.

"We have expenses for workers and electricity including the costs for producing water with high standards," she said. "We cannot sell bottled water for less than K300. The market is down for manufacturers as agents make more profits."

The association is trying to arrange a fixed wholesale price of water in Mandalay, the same as prices in Magwe and Monywa in Sagaing Region have been fixed at K400 per bottle.

"We haven't announced this in Mandalay yet but we will after a meeting," she said.

The association will also call on the FDA to test the raw water and processed water of all water manufacturers in the region to ensure that they have the necessary operation permits.

"If the raw water contains high amounts of iron and limestone, we do not give a permit. If they pass the test, we will continually examine their processed water. We have to clear the pipelines because the tanks are cleaned with chlorine," she said.

"It takes about two months to get an FDA permit," she added. "Some people do not allow FDA inspections because they think they're expensive. We are still trying to persuade them," she said.

Establishing a water factory in Myanmar that can produce 500 to 1000 barrels of water a day costs between K50 million and K200 million.

FDA Deputy Director U Kyaw Oo said the agency would closely cooperate with the association to ensure the safety of bottled water and to level the playing field in the bottled water industry.

Established in August 2017, the Myanmar Drinking Water Entrepreneurs Association has chapters in Yangon, Mandalay, Magwe, Ayeyarwady and Chin states and plans to establish branches in other regions as well.

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