EU-funded MYSAP aquaculture program suspended following Myanmar coup

Published on
February 18, 2021

The EUR 25 million (USD 30.2 million) Myanmar Sustainable Aquaculture Program (MYSAP), funded by the European Union and German development agency GIZ, has been suspended after a military coup in the Southeast Asian state, also known as Burma.

MYSAP had already been struggling due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of international aid programs could prove a setback to Myanmar's larger ambitions to grow its seafood production and exports.

The Burmese military, led by Min Aung Hlaing, seized power earlier this month, arresting political leaders and human rights activists, including Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

“This has required all activities to be suspended pending further guidance from higher levels in Europe,” project aquaculture expert Kevin Fitzimmons told SeafoodSource from Myanmar. “We hope that this will be a temporary postponement, but no one knows as so much depends on the political situation,”

Fitzimmons is on leave from University of Arizona to work on MYSAP, having had worked on a USAID-supported project from 2015 to 2017 to develop sustainable aquaculture in Myanmar farming species like tilapia, Asian seabass, barramundi, and pangasius.

The E.U. has suspended several aid and training programs in the wake of the coup, including a police training project, as well as modernizing initiatives for Myanmar’s educational and governance systems.

A 2013 E.U. report on Myanmar’s agriculture and fishery potential noted challenges including a lack of training and available financial services as well as a “lack of basic infrastructure to connect rural areas to population centers, resulting in high transport and marketing costs” leading to “poor-quality inputs and sub-standard management practices.”

Photo courtesy of PradeepGaurs/Shutterstock

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