ACTIVITIES

The objective of Matsyafed as spelt out in its bye-law is to carry out activities for promoting production, procurement, processing and marketing of fish and fishery products for the total development (Economic, Social and Culture) of fishermen community.

Fish Auction: Organizing beach level auction as primary sale

Matsyafed introduced the group ownership system for fishing implements through its NCDC assisted IFDP loan schemes to ensure that all fishermen participating in fishing activities had equal rights to the fishing implements. Once the fishermen groups were formed and provided with the fishing inputs the next area of intervention the federation has initiated is to ensure right of producer fishermen on primary sale of fish at landing centres. Fishermen land their catches in landing centre or harbours and sell their produce through different systems in different part of the state. The middlemen at these places were found to exploit the fishermen during the first sale. It was felt that a standard practice through out the state was needed to have a better value realization to the producer fishermen. This led Matsyafed to  introduce a beach level auction system under the control of the primary cooperatives whereby the fish landed by the fishermen are auctioned by empanelled auctioneers of the primary societies and the fishermen are paid the auction value immediately through the primary society after deducting the loan repayment amount and a savings amount which is credited to the loan account,savings account of the fishermen. This system has ensured fair price for fish, prompt loan repayment and also inculcated a habit of savings among the fisherfolk.  Based on the savings generated by the fishermen 0.5% of the amount is paid by Government and the total amount is released to the fisherfolk as  production bonus during festival seasons.

The details of the auction under the federation for the last 14 years are given below.

Sl No

Year

No fishermen

Quantity in tons

Value in Lakhs

1

2002-03

28587

30854

5113

2

2003-04

33217

32169

6557

3

2004-05

34387

32390

6086

4

2005-06

35737

31156

6553

5

2006-07

35832

44481

8954

6

2007-08

36360

49944

10271

7

2008-09

40736

56407

12434

8

2009-10

42457

72573

18185

9

2010-11

46149

91724

21736

10

2011-12

44079

97956

26207

11

2012-13

44856

108773

32895

12

2013-14

43331

84775

32141

13

2014-15

40231

66676

26766

14 2015-16 41191 46708 25488

The focus of organizing beach level auction was on the traditional sector which contributes about 40% value of the total landings in the state. The coverage of auction by the federation is about 35% of the traditional sector and about 12% of the total landings in the state. The effective control in the primary sale is more relevant for the effective intervention in the secondary level marketing. The impact of the introduction of the beach level auction was to reduce the % of auction commission charged by private auctioneers as well as to standardize the auction system through out the state. It led to an effective improvement in the income of the fishermen of the state. It has also improved the credit worthiness of the fisherfolk as their loan repayment to Matsyafed is above 90% of the demand for the year 2015-16.

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) assisted  Integrated Fisheries Development Project

      Matsyafed has been implementing the NCDC assisted Integrated Fisheries Development Projects (IFDP) for assisting the traditional fishermen of Kerala since 1984. The assistance is provided in kind as subsidised loan . The loan is provided to the fishermen through the Primary Fishermen Development and Welfare Co-Operative societies affiliated to Matsyafed. Loan is provided   for procuring fishing implements such as Craft (Vallom), Out Board Engines and Webbings in kind, infrastructure facilities for fish marketing and processing to the primaries for the benefit of member fishermen, Working Capital for fish vending and Marketing, construction of office cum Godown for the primary societies and district Offices etc.

     Since its inception in 1984, MATSYAFED has implemented sixteen Integrated Fishery Development Projects (IFDP) with the assistance of National Co -operative Development Corporation (NCDC).

So far we have assisted more than 1 lakh fishermen under NCDC assisted IFDP schemes directly and more than 1.2 lakh fishermen indirectly.  .

Motorisation of Country Crafts

50 % centrally sponsored scheme. This scheme envisages passing on subsidy of Rs. 10000/- for engines below 10 HP for the motorization of country crafts.

Subsidy for Suitable Components of Fishing Gear

The scheme provides a subsidy of Rs.6000/- per craft powered by OBMs below 10 HP for the purchase of suitable components of fishing gear by fishermen.

Bankable Scheme

The scheme provides 25% subsidy for loan from bank/financial institutions for the purchase of fishing inputs by fishermen.

NBCFDC & NMDFC Self employment loan schemes and Microfinance programmes

Schemes for providing term loan and microfinance loan with financial assistance of National Backward Classes Development & Finance Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) are being implemented by the Federation since 1997. NBCFDC and NMDFC finance 85% of the project cost and the 10% SCA share is met by the State Govt.  Assistance worth Rs.807.69 lakhs was provided to 1042 fishermen with the fund received from NMDFC and NBCFDC.

Under the Microfinance programme, 15093 Self Help Groups(SHGs) with 180303 members have been organized and affiliated to 367 primary societies. A maximum loan limit of Rs. 25000/- per individual is given with a repayment period of 2 years @6% interest with a margin of 1% to the society.

Interest Free Loan

To prevent the income erosion of women fish vendors due to the high rate of interest charged by the private money lenders for their daily working capital requirement, Matsyafed has launched a new scheme of loan for women vendors without charging any interest and the interest portion is borne by the State Govt. During the reporting year Matsyafed assisted 30000 women fish vendors with Rs. 2798.50 lakhs.

SHG & microfinance

The initial focus of the federation was to look into the fishing activities and to support fishermen to have fishing input and there by ensuring an improvement in income. But it is important to improve the income of the family so that the family will have better financial stability. Also in addition to their requirements for credit for fishing inputs and working capital, the fishermen family members require financial support for their day to needs like working capital for fish vending, education of kids, medical purpose, marriages etc for which they usually depend on money lenders. The interest rate in the sector was very high and it resulted in the income erosion to the fishermen families. In this context, Federation has initiated formation of the Self Help Group among fishermen family members and encouraged to initiate micro enterprises.  Matsyafed could organize credit facilities through National Backward class finance Devopment Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Minority Finance Development Corporation (NMDFC) at 6% interest per annum. Matsyafed could also organsie interest free loans to fish vendor with support of the state government. 

The present status of the self help groups and micro credit is given below.

Sl No

Particulars

Amount

1

Total number of self help groups

15093

2

Number of members in self help groups

180723

3

Thrift generated  by self help groups

102.10 Crores

4

Amount of thrift distributed as loan

135.02 Crores

5

Micro finance distributed

395.11 Crores

6

Interest free loan distributed to vendors

179.62 Crores

The micro credit has made a huge difference in the dynamics of the primary cooperatives and improvement in the income of the fishermen families. The interest rate of money lending in fisheries sector was ranging from 24 to 120% per annum and fishermen was finding it difficult to repay the loans. Matsyafed could organize the micro credit at 6% per annum and even as interest free in the case of fish vendors. This has forced money lenders to reduce the interest rate in the sector and there by facilitate increase in income to fishermen family.

MATSYAFED INPUT SECURITY SCHEME (MISS)

The main objectives of the scheme are:

  1. To extend timely assistance to the beneficiaries  of Matsyafed schemes against damage to fishing  implements due to accidents and natural calamities:
  2. To compensate for losses sustained due to loss or damage of fishing implements obtained under Matsyafed schemes.
  3. To ensure that the investments under projects are protected against unforeseen contingencies and the fishermen groups are hedged from risks of such contingencies.

The fishing inputs distributed under the schemes financed by NCDC, NBCDFC, NMDFC and other specified agencies and implemented by Matsyafed are covered under MISS.  The premium from beneficiaries towards the Input Security Scheme is 4% of the actual value of the total inputs supplied under Matsyafed Schemes. The contribution is collected at the time of distribution of fishing inputs.

PRODUCTION BONUS SCHEME FOR FISHERMEN

The objective of the project is to increase fish production in traditional sector and encourage fishermen community to produce more fish. The project also targets to increase the income of fishermen and to bring more fishermen under the fold of the cooperatives. In the long run the project will enable the primary cooperatives to have complete right for primary sale of fish in the state.

The project proposes to give a production incentive of 1% of the value of the catch to the fishermen who belong to the traditional sector. All the fishermen groups who participate in the beach level auction through the Primary Co-operative societies will be covered under the scheme. Every fisherman participating in the auction should contribute 1% of the catch value to his Savings account. Such contributions are recorded in the Passbook.  To this 1% savings amount kept at society level additional 50% of the 1% will be deposited by Matsyafed from the State budget and thus the fisherman will receive 1.5% as production bonus.

Chain of Hi-tech retail Fish Marts

Kerala being a consumer-oriented State with the highest per capita consumption of fish, protecting the interests of the producer fishermen and consumers is a tight-rope walk. Though the beach price of fish in the State is quite high, the producer fishermen are forced to sell fresh fish at lower prices in the markets, as the demand for fresh fish is in the State is higher than the production resulting in influx of fish in the markets of the State from neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka etc. Often the fish which reaches the State's markets from neighbouring  states are couple of days old and chemically preserved with ammonia or such other chemicals. While, the interests of the producer fisherfolk are to be protected, the State has an obligation to the consumers too, to give good quality unadulterated fish in hygienic conditions. Matsyafed has taken upon itself this responsibility  by initiating the establishment of a chain of hi-tech fish marts in various districts of the State. These fish marts supply good quality unadulterated fresh fish procured directly from the producer fishermen at fish landing centres of the State at reasonable price to the  consumers.

Matsyafed set up the first Model Hi-tech Fresh Fish Mart in Thevara in Ernakulam district. Subsequently, Matsyafed has set up  30 fresh fish marts in Thiruvananathapuram, Kollam, Kottayam,Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts. All these fish marts were set up in collaboration with local self governing bodies. Women members of Self Help Groups of local self governing bodies or primary co-operative societies of Matsyafed have been organised into activity group and the fish marts are operated by the women members of these activity groups. For cutting of large fish men cutters are also engaged. This initiative has helped Matsyafed to provide employment to  more than 120 women and 30 men. Each women member of SHG is  able to earn about Rs.8000- Rs.12,000/- per month. This has improved the socio-economic life of these women. The interaction with public has also tremendously enhanced their confidence levels and hence this initiative of Matsyafed has also become a  platform for women empowerment.   

Considering the change in food habits of new generation and the convenience of employed women for getting easy to cook and ready to cook products, Matsyafed has also set up a smart fish mart in Trivandrum district wherein value added fish products such as cleaned, dressed and packed chilled fish, frozen fish, ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook fish products such as fish curry, fish cutlets, fish & prawn pickles etc., are sold at very reasonable prices. This model has become very popular and has been attracting good response from the public. Matsyafed is in the process of extending the coverage to all the other districts and interior parts of the State. 

Infrastructure development in Harbours and selected  fish markets

To highlight the need for cleanliness and hygiene in the area of fish marketing, Matsyafed is in the process of renovating three fish markets in the State (Anchal Fish Market, Oachira Fish Market & Aroor Fish Market) with financial assistance from State Government and in association with the concerned local self governing bodies.

A 40Ton Ice Plant & Ice store is also being established in Kayamkulam Fishing Harbour (Azheekal), Kollam, as a part of the secondary marketing activities of Matsyafed to ensure proper post-harvest handling of fresh fish.

White Kerosene Bunks

In order to overcome the problem of shortage of kerosene for fishing purposes faced by traditional fisherfolk, the State Government launched an ambitious project for distributing white kerosene at subsidised rates to fisherfolk through a chain of kerosene bunks established by Matsyafed. A chain of 12 kerosene bunks has been established throughout the coastal belt of Kerala. This  ensures that all valid permit holders of kerosene for fishing purposes  get kerosene at subsidised rate in addition to their existing kerosene quota. This will help plug a huge leakage of income of producer fishermen on fuel expenses and improve their socio-economic conditions.

ORNAMENTAL FISHERY

A public aquarium at Vaikkom started functioning during 2014-15 in association with Vaikkom Muncipality . The total outlay of the project is Rs.50 lakhs. Matsyafed is also running a public aquarium at Thenmala in Kollam District and one at Kottayam  in association with Kottayam municipality. Sales outlets for the sales of  aquarium accessories are  functioning attached to the aquariums. Regular training programme on ornamental fishery are conducted at Thenmala and Kottayam.

Capacity Building

In order to develop a vibrant organisation, an effective campaign was organsied in the initial years of formation of the federation. Extensive mass contact programs were conducted in fishing villages and continuous interaction on one to one basis with fishermen groups were organsied so that the group dynamics have maintained and successful group activity has emerged. There is an Extension and Mass communication division in the federation to look after the effective capacity building process in the different levels of the federation. Different target groups like fishermen, primary cooperative leadership and staff, directors of the primaries, officers and directors of federation were given training management so that an effective program implementation will be possible. The few program details implemented for the continuous capacity building process in the federation is given below.

  1. Awareness and Mass Contact Programs
  2. Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP)
  3. Management Development Programs (MDP)
  4. Trainer's of Trainees (ToT)
  5. Training in Advanced Technologies for Skill Up gradation
  6. Workshops, Seminars and Exhibitions
  7. Publications and Publicity
  8. Future Makers – Training program for SSLC / +2 students of fishermen families for development of positive mental attitude, effective learning skill, goal setting and leadership.
  9. Revitalization programs for non –performing primaries
  10. Training to staff, employees and leadership of primaries and SHGs
  11. Training to fishermen and director board members of FDWCS
  12. Training to SHGs for Group Dynamics & Leadership
  13. Training to employees of Matsyafed
  14. Women Empowerment Programs

 

Welfare activities

The federation is implementing few welfare schemes which are felt necessary to provide some security to its member fishermen. The following are the important schemes implemented.

Fishermen Personal Accident Insurance Scheme: The scheme provides compensation of Rs. 3 Lakh to the dependents of fishermen who die in accidents. If the accident leads to disability of 50% or more the compensation will be Rs. 1,50,000/- along with hospital expenses limited to Rs. 60,000/- or the actual expense which ever is less.

Matsyafed Input Security Scheme (MISS): Compensating the loss due to accidents and natural calamities sustained to the fishing implements distributed under Matsyafed schemes. So far Matsyafed has assisted 258 beneficiaries amounting to Rs. 57.87 Lakhs.

Vanitha Bus: Matsyafed is operating special bus service for the journey of fisherwomen vendors from the landing centres to the market places and back, at nominal rates in Trivandrum & Ernakulam Districts.

Common Pre-processing Centre: Matsyafed is running a pre-processing facility at Sakthikulangara for the fisherwomen of the area to ensure hygienci post-harvest handling of fish & prawns, thereby enhancing the value of exports.

Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP): It is a joint venture project of Matsyafed with KSUDP. The project   envisages the livelihood improvement of fishermen community. The project is implemented for the benefit of fishermen groups belong to Fishermen Co-operative Societies functioning under the jurisdiction of Trivandrum, Kollam, Ernakulam and Kozhikode Corporations.