Aquaculture in Myanmar: A survey

By Ben Belton, Mateusz Filipski and Chaoran Hu

Worker feeding fish on a large farm
Worker feeding fish on a large farm

Fish farming (aquaculture) has grown rapidly in Myanmar over the last two decades and plays an increasingly important role in national fish supply, but its technical and economic characteristics have been poorly studied. This report addresses this knowledge gap by presenting data from the first statistically representative survey of fish farms conducted in Myanmar - the Myanmar Aquaculture-Agriculture Survey (MAAS).

MAAS was implemented in May 2016. A total of 242 fish farming households (151 growout farms and 73 nurseries) were interviewed in a ‘cluster’ of 25 village tracts as part of a larger survey that covered 1102 households in 40 village tracts in the main fish growing areas of Myanmar in Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions. As estimated from satellite images, the village tracts surveyed contained 57% of the total area of inland fish ponds in the Ayeyarwady Delta. Surveyed farms represent the entire population of fish farming households resident in these village tracts.

Survey results provide a comprehensive ‘benchmark’ of the characteristics of inland aquaculture in Myanmar. Features analyzed include: farm productivity and profitability; farm size; production cycle duration; use of feed, seed and other production inputs; demand for labor; harvesting and marketing behaviors; technological change; the economic and social characteristics of fish farming households; and land access and tenure.

These findings have the following implications for the design of policies and interventions aimed at promoting the growth of aquaculture.
1. Fish farming should be recognized and promoted as a mechanism for generating rural growth.
2. Small farms (sized 10 acres or less) and nurseries should be the principal target of policy and technical interventions.
3. Smaller farms have a competitive advantage in the production of non-carp species.
4. Conduct research and outreach on use of fertilizers.
5. Identify mechanisms for providing commercial loans, tailored to the needs of actors in aquaculture value chains.
6. Encourage private investment in the feed sector.

For more, see Ben Belton, Mateusz Filipski and Chaoran Hu. May 2017. Aquaculture in Myanmar: Fish Farm Technology, Production Economics and Management. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 51. East Lansing: Michigan State University