In need for additional cold storage, says MIFCO

MIFCO will be able to store fish according to the type and size of the fish by building additional cold storage, the fish company has said.

An audit report on MIFCO's operations noted that the company does not have any arrangements for separating fish by type and size.

Referring to the audit's findings, MIFCO MD Ismail Fauzy told AVAS that MIFCO needs more cold storage at the moment. While MIFCO currently has a cold storage capacity of 4,200 tonnes of fish, Fauzi noted that additional cold storage would enable the fish to be separated according to their size. Discussions are ongoing with the government to seek a solution to the matter, he said.

"We are hopeful that we will be able to get more cold storage very soon. That is in the development plan. We will be able to get storage through the Saudi Fund," Fauzy said.

MIFCO's audit report also said that the company does not look at the quality of the fish when it buys it. In this regard, Fauzy said the quality and freshness of the fish could not be told from looking at it from the outside while purchasing it. He said MIFCO analyzes the quality of the fish and that it takes one day to get the results.

Fauzy further said many fishing vessels sell their catch without properly freezing it, and that such fish are identified when MIFCO's analysis is completed.

"On average, one tonne of ice is needed to freeze two tonnes of fish. However, sometimes boats with 20 tonnes of ice sell 50 tonnes of fish," Fauzi said.

The audit report also noted that MIFCO sold fish worth MVR 144 million between 2016 and 2018 without any agreement. Fauzy said the company no longer sells fish without agreements and that the previous practice was by MIFCO's former management.

The audit report also highlighted that MIFCO's operating expenses had increased significantly in the past two years. Compared to 2019, MIFCO's operating expenses increased by MVR 100 million in 2021. Fauzy said the reason for the increase in operating expenses was the increase in oil prices in the global market.

"Many of MIFCO's operations require fuel. We used to get a liter for MVR 8. Now a liter costs MVR 18; it has doubled. In addition, other operating expenses are also rising due to the current global situation," Fauzy explained.