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Rural Coastal Fisheries Development Project Minimize

A coastal fishery is the main means of providing food and income for the coastal communities of Papua New Guinea. However, due to poor infrastructure and markets and lack of credit facilities many coastal communities merely fish for their own consumption and the surplus is retailed on an adhoc basis.

To address issues affecting the coastal communities in terms of food security issues, reduction of dependence on imported foodstuff and paying special attention to address issues pertaining to the sustainability management of marine resources, the Government of PNG identified the Rural Coastal coastal fisheryFisheries Development Programme during the National Indicative Programme of the 8th EDF.

A grant funding of 6 (six) million euros equivalent to K24 million was allocated with the main objective to contribute to a sustainable improvement in the welfare of rural coastal fisheries in PNG by increasing rural families incomes through greater participation in the sustainable harvesting and improved marketing of marine resources. Seven provinces; Madang, Morobe, Western, Central, New Ireland and Bougainville provinces were selected as the project intervention sites to support small scale fishing enterprises.

The project is implemented by the National Fisheries Authority and working directly with the seven Provincial Governments of Madang, Morobe, Central, New Ireland Bougainville and Western Provinces, Private Sector Partners, and the village communities in the seven provinces.

Commencing officially in 2003, the project is for duration of five years but will now end in 2008 after an extension was granted in 2005.

The RCFDP is implementing a number of activities which include: Infrastructure, Provision of Equipment and Boats, Deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), Training, Private Sector Partners, Provision of coastal fisheryFinance through three types of credit loans and Sustainable Resource Management and Studies.

Apart from the infrastructure development, which is the construction of four fish markets, the basic aim is to promote development through private sector initiatives. A line of credit backed by an initial loan scheme has been established through banks and private financial institutions to enable small fishing enterprises and groups to purchase boats, fishing gear, ice plants and establishing fish processing facilities as well as providing assistance for marine aquaculture. The project acts as a credit guarantor to communities who do not have access to capital.

Various training programs are available under the RCFDP to provide various skills to the people benefiting from the credit facilities to enable them to fully realize the full benefit of sustainable managed marine resources. Other training provided is to the boat beneficiaries to assist them to manage their business and resources effectively and profitably.

The RCFDP departs from the traditional fisheries project offering a new and challenging alternative approach to development of the fisheries sector in PNG. With its unique feature of directing its support through the private sector, it is providing “access to success” for small-scale fishermen and in the process creating a new class of small and medium sized fisheries enterprises to complement the current growth in commercial and industrial fisheries.

The objective of the project will be achieved through four expected outcomes:

(1) Increased landings of finfish and other under-exploited marine resources. Several activities will ensure this output is achieved and there are as follows;

1.1 Provision of appropriate locally built fishing boats and production equipment which includes boats, fishing gear, ice boxes, pontoons, cages with the project acting as the credit provider through the provision of three credit facilities.

Micro-credit: this loan package is geared to meet the needs for fishing gear, iceboxes etc. Loans under this package would be a direct benefit to individual beneficiaries and are managed and run through either a micro-credit scheme, Savings and Loans Society or the Rural Development Bank.

Criteria include:

• Have a record of active engagement in fishing and skilled in capture methods and post harvest care
• Be a member of the Fishermen’s Association and have the support of the PSP
• Have a selling and buying relationship with a buyer
• Demonstrate a willingness to engage in the project as an entrepreneur
• Have a viable business plan

Starter Package: for the purchase of production units of boats and gear; culture units – pontoons, ponds by the target beneficiaries. Two types of fishing boats (23 foot outboard dory and Ela 82 or the 27 foot inboard dory), fully fitted with fishing and safety gears are provided at 0% interest rate. Payment for the boats is given directly to the building constructor to construct and deliver to the recipients. Only four provinces benefit from this package; Madang, Morobe, Central and New Ireland provinces.

Criteria for this package:

• Be a full-time rural fishermen or fish farmer
• Be an incorporated entity
• Have a viable business plan
• Have the support of the Fishing Association and the Provincial Loans Committee
• Have considerable marine fishing experience
• Be willing to engage full-time in fishing activities

Major Credit Line: this package is designed for indirect inputs and is for supporting infrastructure development such as ice plants and fish processing facilities. Loans under this facility are run through a commercial bank at less than the normal commercial rate. An initial Major Loans Committee screens applications and if approved undergo a second screening by the ANZ bank who then makes the ultimate decision to reject or endorse an application.

Criteria for this package:

• Be a current business operating in the country at the project intervention site.
• Be willing to take out a loan under the project for the provision of support service to the project and its clients.

1.2. Deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in three provinces to assist fishermen to maximise production and the efficiency of fishing effort.

1.3. Various training in seamanship, fishing skills, fish handling, small business management, processing and export marketing for fishing families and PSP

(2) Improve profitability and values of marine products

To improve the profitability and value of marine products, training is provided through the NFC to improve fish handling, marketing and distribution. The provision of major credit facility is also available to allow for business to purchase support equipment such as ice making machines and fish processing facilities. The RCFDP will be commissioning studies into cost reduction and operational efficiency to assist people who are in the fisheries business.

(3) Rational development of coastal resources to facilitate an increase in sustainable production.

Under this output trainings were conducted for provincial fisheries officers to develop community resource use plans.

Monitoring and assessment of production data is also obtained from the logbooks of the boat recipients. A Rural Participatory Assessment was conducted to obtain socio-economic data to assess the impact of the project before, during and after the project interventions.
The project is conducting awareness programs on the radios and through the Solwara Nuis to keep its stakeholders updated on the project activities and maintain awareness on marine resources management issues.

(4) Better access to internal and export markets

Under this output the following activities are taking place. This includes:

4.1. Four simple fish markets will be constructed in Port Moresby, Buka, Kavieng and Lae to provide retail outlets for fishermen and their women folk to retail their catches in these clean and safe outlets. Once completed, private entrepreneurs under management and maintenance contracts will manage and maintain the markets and its facilities. These markets will strictly be for the retail of marine products only.


4.2. A study on improved market and market linkages study was conducted in 2005. This study is part of the Project’s strategy to pursue development of capture sector in parallel with infrastructure development in the post harvest sector. In order to be successful, it is important that PNG should be able to access export markets as well as providing marine products to the domestic markets.

The purpose of this study was to conduct a thorough analysis of opportunities and threats to marine products development in the country. The study will look at developing a strategy plan for market development concentrating on the active involvement of the private sector in fishery sector development; Market demands and trends were identified through existing literature on export markets and through various consultations with the main exporters to Europe; and a transport economic model. The economic model will identify the current situation and identify needs for types of, and location of critical facilities and cost-reduction transport strategies.

An analysis of the up and downstream effects of market development was carried out. For the upstream effects identification of needs for input supply to the near coast fishery as well as the down stream effects of improve landing sites, post harvest facilities on land including simple fish markets etc. The existing legislation was also looked at with regard to international trade, export and product standards. The study looked at providing direction at policy level within areas such as WTO related aspects and implementation of international valid products standards and quality assurance procedures. EU standards and procedures as well as the effect of the Cotonou Agreement on the penetration of PNG Seafood’s products to the EU market will also be taken into account. Freighting companies were consulted to look into the existing freight rates structures with a view to provide recommendations on negotiable strategies. An assessment will be made on the potential for the development of new seafood products based on the species identified as having commercial interest.

4.3. Three more studies will be conducted in 2006 focusing on Increased Market Access, Assist achievement of international quality standards and promotion and facilitation of private sector investment.

On the whole this project is geared towards the promotion of small scale artisanal fishing in the rural coastal communities selected to participate in this project, by generating income-earning opportunities and at the same time enhancing the private sector partners involved in fish processing and marketing.