Govt Reviews Live Cattle Export Programme

MYANMAR - The government is reviewing its year-old cattle export pilot programme, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation said.
calendar icon 27 September 2018
clock icon 2 minute read

"We expect the exports to continue, but it is still not confirmed. There are more things to review," said U Tun Lwin, deputy permanent secretary of the ministry.

The Myanmar Times reports that under the programme, which started in September last year, 143,643 cattle were exported to China worth US$150 million (K240.65 billion), said U Khin Zaw, permanent secretary of the ministry.

"This benefits the nation as an income source and increases the incomes of farmers," he said.

Continuation of the exports depends on the results of an animal census and cattle data that will be released in coming October.

There are around 11 million cattle in Myanmar, Deputy Commerce Minister U Aung Htoo recently told the Lower House.

But U Tun Lwin said the Commerce figure was just an estimate, and it might be revised after the review.

U Soe Moe Aung, a member of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues, said there have also been talks on forming a board comprising all the stakeholders in the cattle export business.

Although the government has approved export of live cattle, exports of cows and water buffaloes were prohibited under the 1966 Special Commodity Law. Likewise, there are difficulties in transporting these animals between regions and states.

Than Naing Tun, deputy director general of the Livestock, Breeding, and Veterinary Department, said his agency has asked for the advice of the Myanmar Attorney General on the plan to lift the export restrictions.

Another problem facing exporters is the long period for permits to open temporary camps to keep water buffaloes and cows.

"The application for different land use takes too long," said a person involved in cattle exports.

There is also concern that exports of cattle and buffaloes would leave farmers short of draft animals. U Tun Lwin said the government is looking into the raise-and-export system, whereby businessmen raise their own cattle for export in order not to compete with farmers.

U Sein Win, Lower House MP for Maubin township in Ayeyarwaddy Region, said, "The problem of a draft animal shortage should be studied before making policy."

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