By STELLA BITA
THERE is more to just digging a hole and filling it with water, as revealed by fish farmers from the Leron Wantoat inland Fish Farmers Cooperative Society.
These are loyal fish farmers who have also experienced the difficulties involved in running a fish farm.
The interest in aquaculture in Morobe is growing with more than 5000 fish farmers now producing tilapia, carp and rainbow trout for home consumption and for sale.
Fish farming has greatly improved food security and helped generate income for the Leron Wantoat farmers.
The main dilemma the farmers face is financial security. Saving for long-term financial needs is their main concern.
The Lae Nambawan Super team in recognising this problem offered a respite by introducing the Choice Super product at the inland farmers workshop in 2015.
The Choice Super is designed for anyone earning any form of income and not contributing to any approved superannuation fund in Papua New Guinea.
It is targeted more at the informal sector.
Awateng Willie, a fish farmer, was among a group of participants who attended an inland fish farmers’ workshop in Lae in 2015.
For them fish farming is their livelihood.
It has sustained them financially and they’ve not had to worry much about protein for their meals.
“We sell fish and try to save some money in the bank but tend to withdraw and disturb our savings,” said Willie.
“When Nambawan Super spoke about Choice Super we had a meeting in our different co-operatives and decided to open accounts with Choice Super.”
Hamaia Gapmopi said: “We want to save money in an entity like Nambawan Super as the money we save will not be available for us to withdraw until much later when we have enough funds to survive in retirement.”
In January 2017, 611 inland fish farmers from the Leron/Wantoat inland Fish Farmer’s Cooperative Society opened Choice Super accounts with K30 as their initial contribution.
Markham MP Paul Ezekiel commended Morobe Fisheries and Nambawan Super for promoting financial literacy and sustainable living among his people and he contributed K20,000 for the inland fish farmers in his electorate.
“The additional funds will go towards helping to sustain and encourage other farmers to start thinking about long-term saving,” said Ezekiel.
Nambawan Super acting chief executive Vere Arava said Choice Super is a product developed to facilitate voluntary superannuation services targeting the informal sector with a minimum regular contribution of K20 on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
Members are also encouraged to do lump sum deposits to help their savings grow faster.
Members also enjoy the services and benefits that are accorded to compulsory Nambawan Super members, like Nambawan Loyalty Discount and Nambawan Savings and Loans.
By STELLA BITA