"Extension" plays a crucial role in the successful implementation of all schemes. The extent of success of implementation depends upon the extent of conscientisation. Every project has its roots in visualisation. Visualisation of change. Thus every project is a documentation of a dream; a dream about the positive changes, the project will trigger in, when it is implemented in its true spirit. This dream has to be conveyed to the persons responsible for implementation and also most importantly to the ultimate beneficiaries.
It is true that Matsyafed has been instrumental in ushering in an era of change in the fisheries sector. Ever since the wandering man settled and turned to agriculture, ownership of production inputs has been the deciding factor, in determining the power equations. The situation to a great extent prevails in fisheries sector as well where the ownership of fishing implements was crucial. Various projects implemented by the Matsyafed with the assistance of NCDC, Central and State Govt's, have made fishermen, owners of their implements of toil.
Fisheries sector is always vibrant and undergoes rapid changes. Fishermen are very much aware of technological advancements and the mode of fishing has changed many a time. In order to cope up with this change, fishermen are forced to approach middle men for recurring of as well as capital investments. To liberate the fishermen from the vicious debt trap the Fishermen Development Welfare Co-operative Society are to be evolved as local institutions capable of extending assistance to them. In short, these societies should function as the 1st refuge of fishermen for all their needs.
In order to achieve this, awareness generation process has been initiated among all. The following programmes are being undertaken.
Classes aimed at generating knowledge about Matsyafed schemes, co-operativisation etc among fishermen. Small meetings are organised in all societies. In such meetings, group leaders, members, Auctioneers, society functionaries and Matsyafed officials participate. Objective is to import awareness regarding our schemes, their mode of implementation, importance of timely repayment, etc.
Classes about functioning of societies, statutory requirements, co-operative act & rules, institution building, income generating activities, etc. Co-operative societies small and large are bound to work in compliance of co-operative Act & Rules. Hence the society office bearers are expected to have a general knowledge about the fundamental rules and regulations of co-operative societies Act. These training classes serve this purpose.
Classes about SHG movement, grading, micro enterprises, etc. Self Help movement is the most dynamic activity of Matsyafed at present. We have more than 2 lakh fisherwomen and men as members of nearly 20000 SHGs. Micro finance loans are being extended to these groups. The SHGs are to be constantly kept at vibrant stage. More over they are to be graduated to start micro enterprises. Regular trainings to achieve these ends are organised at District level.
Interest Free Loan schemes issued to women fish vendors, was a revolutionary step to liberate the women in fisheries from indebtedness. The community motivators appointed under this scheme, are doing the monitoring of the scheme. A two day residential, inspirational training programme is being conducted every year.
The power of Education in shaping a civilised society cannot be over emphasised. The programmes envisage to give career guidance to 10th & 12th class students. One day training programmes are arranged in schools with the help of PTAs in which classes are given to students. A class is also arranged to parents and teachers on the very same day. If needed, continuous support programmes are also arranged. It is seen that results in the examinations show impressive improvement.
Training is the tool that prevents man from becoming redundant. Capacity building forms an integral part of an organisations activities. Trainings an interpersonal relationships, communication, managerial capabilities are being given to officers at various levels.
Transparency is to be ensured in the functioning of the federation and societies. It is worth while to conduct mass contact programmes at District level in which the chairman and higher officials of Matsyafed and group leaders and society functionaries meet face to face. Meetings are organised at least once in an year to achieve this end.
Matsyafed often participates in seminars, workshops and exhibitions to give wide publicity to the programmes undertaken by us. Apart from giving publicity regarding our organisation, it also is being used to market one of our products called Chitone. Chitone is an anti fat cholesterol reducing organic compound derived from the shell of prawn. The factory producing chitone is situated at Neendakara, Kollam.
A news letter called "Matsya" incorporating current affairs in the fisheries sector is being published once in three months.
Recognition and appreciation of good work are sure way to continue the performance and exceed the targets. Hence it is proposed to honour all excellent achievers among SHGs, Groups, Societies, Officials, etc. The following awards are being distributed every year.
(a) "Matsyasree" carrying a cash award of Rs. 1 Lakh and a memento to the best fishing group and Rs. 50,000/- and memento to second fishing group.
(b) State level awards to the 1st and 2nd Primary Society. Award carries a cash prize of Rs. 25,000/- and Rs. 15,000/- respectively in addition to memento.
(c) State level awards to the 1st and 2nd SHG. Award carries a cash prize of Rs. 15,000/- and Rs. 10,000/- respectively in addition to memento.
(d) District level awards are also being given to societies, groups and SHGs
Matsyafed Information Guide, incorporating essential and basic statistics about fisheries sector, is being published every year.
Education awards to all students belonging to fishermen community, who get A+ in all subjects in 10th & 12th class are being distributed. Cash award of Rs.3000/- and a memento are given away. Rank holders at Degree level & Post Graduate are also be similarly honoured. In addition to this, a one tome assistance of Rs. 10,000/- is being given to the wards of members of societies who get admission in the medical colleges in Kerala, based on the Entrance Examination. These programmes are aimed at bringing the community to the main stream of development.
Matsyafed is undertaking 4 Vanitha Special Bus Services (3 in Trivandrum and one in Ernakulam) to cater exclusively to the needs of fisherwomen engaged in fish vending.