Africanna Business & Construction (ABC) Company seeks to improve the livelihoods of citizens by enhancing fish value chain & markets in Kisimayo
Project Innovative Approaches
Teaching the Fishermen how to fish. There is need to train the fishermen in best practices for all aspects of fishing—catching, storing, processing, marketing, and governing the resource. With a product as perishable as fish, it is crucial that fishermen understand best practices for cooling and processing their catches. Fish prices decline precipitously if not in good condition.
Promoting artisan and subsistence fishing: Somali fishermen are among the poorest and most marginalized members of Somali society. Empowering them with greater knowledge about fishing and preservation methods and providing them with access to better equipment could significantly increase their standard of living and boost food security. Artisan/subsistence fishing remains the dominant type of fishing for Somalis. It supports more than thousands of families in is therefore an important part of the economy.
If Somali fishermen were trained in better methods and were provided with simple processing facilities, they could greatly improve the profitability of their businesses. A small-scale project could serve as a model for other fishing communities and could encourage Somali society to consider including fish as a source of nutrition, which would also reduce the negative effects of the recurring cycles of drought and subsequent livestock die-offs. Although promoting artisan fishing is low-tech and seems relatively straightforward, it is also challenging. There is little in terms of fishing infrastructure in Somalia. Nevertheless, it is possible to provide training and funding for infrastructure and the fishermen seem eager for this assistance.
Conforming to local capabilities. In the past, potential infrastructure was “overdesigned” and “too sophisticated for the environmental and maintenance standards of Somalia,” according to the UNDP, fish processing facilities were built to European standards and relied on clean water, reliable electricity, and technical expertise, all of which Somalia lacked then. To avoid falling into this trap once more, we will assess the local conditions and work within them and only deploy appropriate technology. Get “buy-in” from local fishermen, offering risks and rewards. In the past, investors provided 100% of the project funds rather than soliciting investment from local businesses. In our approach, we will incentivize the fishermen to have a stake in project outcome by engaging them in every stage of the project development and making them feel part of expected results.
Building the local market for fish. Fish consumption rates in Somalia are low but steadily and rapidly increasing, and organizations such as Somali Fair Fishing and the FAO are utilizing a marketing campaign to convince Somalis to consume more fish. Fish consumption in Somalia is among the lowest in Africa, with yearly per-capita consumption at between 1.8–2.2 pounds (or 0.8–1 kilogram) in 2004 according to the UNDP. However, a growing market does exist and can be built upon. There are, however, serious challenges, the first of which is transporting the fish from the coastal areas to the larger inland cities. Poor (or non-existent) roads and a lack of processing facilities are currently hindering distribution to the interior of the country.
Encouraging the Ministries of Fishing to set standards and catch limits. In the long term, there must be a fisheries management plan to ensure the health and sustainability of the fisheries. According to the FAO’s Somalia fishery expert, a project that is comprehensive and long term has a much better chance of success. He warns that before we think about “patchwork solutions” such as delivering processing facilities, we will work toward comprehensively incorporating three crucial phases of sustainable fishery: the collection of data on marine life and how fishermen are interacting with it; a management plan about sustainable fishing; and developing the capacity of the relevant ministries to enforce relevant laws and regulations.
The Proposed Interventions/Activities in Kismayo
Currently there is no functional fish storage and processing plant in Kismayo. This results in losses occasioned by rotting of fish before it reaches the market or is consumed, low prices resulting from low bargaining power of the fishermen and lack of export opportunities which would otherwise bring in the much needed foreign exchange.
To address some of the identified gaps, we propose to
- Build a large scale warehouse/go down type that can accommodate; cold storage rooms, 20 refrigerators areas for fish market, processing and packaging areas for the export market and offices
- Invest in two 7 ton vans equipped with coolers to transport fish from the different landing areas around Kismayo and transport the fish to the warehouse for sale and processing. The vans will also be used for selling/distributing fish to other markets out of Kismayo to create and meet the local demand for fish.
- Purchase and equip four (4) fishing boats with modern fishing gear
- Organize fishermen into cooperatives/groups and enable them to bring the produce into the warehouse area for direct marketing and sale of the surplus for further processing and export in an organized manner.
- Invest in a fish farm in the area between the River and Indian Ocean Delta (an area rich in fish but hugely unexploited)
- Invest in a solar system for the generation of power run the project and only have generators as a backup when it is cloudy or rainy.
- Train the fishermen in modern fishing techniques and import quality fishing gear as a means for job creation and sustainability of the whole project.
- Work with the government to create a conducive environment and policies that will protect the industry and lead to further expansion and growth of the project.
The Potential Impact/Anticipated Outcomes
- Job creation for youth and women working in the warehouse/factory
- Improvement of livelihoods and earnings to the direct and indirect beneficiaries
- Food security and improved nutrition to the families in the region
- Increased local revenue and foreign exchange earner to the government.
- Sustainable fishing practices resulting in less conflicts