Strengthening small aquaculture businesses through improved financial literacy

Nadi

The Sustainable Pacific Aquaculture Development project (PacAqua) has teamed up with the Ministry of Fisheries and the Cooperative College of Fiji (CCF) to deliver financial literacy training to small scale Tilapia fish farmers from the Western Division this week. Twenty-nine fish farmers and Ministry of Fisheries staff participated in the first module of the 3-day training at Tanoa Skylodge Hotel Nadi between the 11- 13th February 2019.

Consultations with the Aquaculture Division of the Ministry of Fisheries and the Fiji Development Bank have identified a lack of financial literacy amongst aquaculture farmers as a major risk that impedes lending to this sector. Hence, this targeted training was aimed to build financial literacy of the farmers so that they can operate their farms on a more business like footing. The certificates participants gain from the training are recognized by the Fiji Development Bank. This enables farmers to take steps forward to meet requirements for accessing finance to grow their farms.

The key topics focused upon the definition of financial literacy, income & expenditure, savings, budgeting, goal settings, causes of business failure, marketing, legal forms of business and recordkeeping.

Eight participants were women farmers and/ or MoF staff who plan to utilize the skills gained to develop their farm businesses and share knowledge gained to build capacity among staff and encourage other farmers. Ms Alili Laite, a farmer from Nadeli Community pond, says that learning of saving goals to utilize money better for their farm was very useful. Using income from sales to cover major expenses such as feed cost, along with cost saving mechanisms will encourage them to make further improvements. Ms Laite highlighted that after the training they will now be able to set better prices for their fish.

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Ms Alisi Driti, trainer addresses participants at the Financial Literacy training

Ms Meliki Rakuro, Fisheries Technical Officer Aquaculture, added that encouraging farmers to save assists to sustain their business through effective reinvestment. Many new subsistence or semi-commercial farmers who were fully funded to start their projects by the Ministry or funding agencies, end up spending all the revenue from their first crop cycle on other activities. Hence, once they start their next production cycles they do not have the resources to operate the farm. Many subsistence farmers face challenges to open savings accounts to plan and manage their businesses and life events. Improved awareness of financial literacy will assist them to overcome these challenges.

The next training will take place later this month in Savusavu, targeting Tilapia and Mabe pearl farmers.

The Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division (FAME) of the Pacific Community (SPC) is implementing the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT) funded PacAqua project. CCF is the training Division of the Department of Cooperative Business under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

For more information:
Contact the SPC PacAqua Officer Avinash Singh on email: [email protected].

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