Direct trading between farmers and processors
Large farms that are not vertically integrated in processing companies, often engage in buyback systems with processors that provide them with inputs and credits in exchange for a buyback guarantee. Factory owners and wholesalers in Yangon arrange transport from the large integrated and contracted or independent farms to their establishments in Yangon. They send their own trucks to farms that are located close to roads that allow trucks to access the farms. The trucks carry ice and hire harvest teams to load the fish straight after harvest into the trucks. When farms are located further away from the roads, small boats are used in many cases. These boats bring ice to the farms and transport the fish from the farm to nearby jetties that are owned by the fish farmers. There, the fish is transshipped onto larger transport boats that transport the fish to Yangon.
Trading through middleman
Smaller farms often rely on local collectors to deliver fish and have more diverse markets. They may sell significant volumes to local markets that are close to the farms. Margins might be higher in these markets because transport costs are less. If there is a lack of demand for fish at local markets, also smaller farmers will send their products to Yangon. In this case they often depend on local middleman who consolidate supply. Depending on the volume that the farmers can supply, one or more middleman are involved.
The landing and distribution of fish at jetties
When reaching Yangon, the fish is delivered straight to the processing establishments or to a jetty from where it is collected by wholesalers or processors for further transport. Most of the jetties are located in close proximity to either the processing establishments or one of the wholesale markets in Yangon.
Trading through wholesale markets
The primary wholesale markets for freshwater fish are San Pya (major share of trade) and Shwe Padauk markets, both located in Yangon. San Pya is the oldest wholesale market where, besides a couple of large companies, more than 150 other traders are involved in the sale of freshwater fish. San Pya is located in the city center and is very crowded. Hygienic conditions are not up to standard and the infrastructure is outdated.
The government and the Myanmar Fisheries Federation opened Shwe Padauk wholesale market in 2014 with the ambition to close San Pya. The new market offers space to 400 stalls of which 270 were already sold before opening. However, in 2015 the market was still largely empty and it seems that many of the traders that have purchased stalls will only move when the government decides to close the San Pya market.
There are four major buyer categories from Yangon wholesale that can be identified (Belton 2015). First, wholesalers operating in distant urban markets (≈50%). Second, retailers and small wholesalers located in and around Yangon (≈30%). Third, cold storages, processors and exporters in Yangon (≈20%). Lastly, small-scale processors around San Pya, which are small but grow rapidly.