The National-Tuesday, 25th October 2011
By STEPHANIE BAWO
A LACK of information, funds and capacity-building is hindering progress of fisheries cooperative societies, participants at a week-long conference said yesterday.
These were underlying issues highlighted at the beginning of the conference for fisheries and inland fish farmers in Port Moresby hosted by the National Fisheries Authority.
Participants said the lack of information going to the towns and to people in the rural areas was a big contributor to locals not being able to understand and fully participate in fisheries activities in their communities.
They said funding was another problem even though resources were available to them because these activities and projects needed money for transport and logistics and to start projects in their areas.
Another area of concern was the lack of capacity-building at the management level for executives of cooperative societies to go through basic management training so they could run their organisations, they said.
Fisheries officer Presley Kokwaiye said the National Fisheries Authority had allocated K15 million for small fisheries businesses to access and in 2006 it approved K5 million to be accessed by local fish farmers and businesses through the National Development Bank.
He said fish farmers had been unable to access that money because the bank had its own rules and regulations and it could not allow every farmer access if they did not meet certain criteria.
Kokwaiye said they were doing all they could to make sure the funds were available for small fisheries businesses to access but officers responsible in the bank had either moved on or were posted to another area.
He said that was making it difficult to speed up the process.
He said they were looking at other places where they could put the remaining K10 million so that small fisheries businesses could access funds easily to develop and grow their businesses.
The conference is for fisheries cooperatives and provincial fisheries advisers.
It started on Monday and ends on Thursday with participants addressing issues affecting the progress of fisheries cooperative societies and getting views on ways to improve and move forward.