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Saudi Picks Catfish Over Rohu

by the Fish Site Editor
08 December 2009, at 12:00am

MYANMAR - Saudi Arabian fisheries purchasers, who visited Myanmar last week expressed a preference for yellowtail catfish over Rohu.

U Win Kyaing, associate secretary of the Myanmar Fish Farmers Association (MFFA), said the buyers were willing to supply processing technology, should sufficient stocks become available.

Four Saudi Arabians who came to Myanmar on 23 November made the comments to U Win Kyaing during a visit to purchase Rohu, yellowtail catfish and tilapia in Yangon. During their short visit the buying team also visited the chairman of Myanmar Fish Farmers Association, a feed factory, a cold storage facility and several fish farms.

"They said they were heading to Viet Nam to purchase about 20 shipping containers worth of yellowtail catfish fillets and would happily buy there here if we were able to match the quality of those farmed in Viet Nam," he said.

Rohu is the most popular farmed fish breed in Myanmar and accounts for about 80 per cent of all farmed fish. Myanmar is also the largest exporter of this species, according to the Department of Fisheries.

U Win Kyaing said the buyers’ comments provided interesting food for thought.

"They said Arabs prefer the yellowtail catfish over Rohu, which is only eaten by those who can’t afford catfish," he said, adding that a continued focus on Rohu farming could be a hindrance to the long-term development of the industry.

"Myanmar is not at all new to yellowtail catfish farming and we are already successfully farming that species.

"Our major obstacle is making out fillets look as white as those farmed elsewhere but we have a delegation traveling to Viet Nam at the end of November to learn more about farming and processing this fish," he said.

According to the figures from the Department of Fisheries, from April to 22 November, freshwater fisheries exports had earned about $62 million.

the Fish Site Editor