Wednesday March 8, 2023
A group of trained youth fish in the sea/Kalluunmaal
(ERGO) – Fishermen in Bender-siyadaqo village in northern Somalia’s Bari region have been given a boost by the donation of fishing nets, cold storage, and cooking equipment.
Abdiqafar Mohamud Abdi, who has been fishing for eight years, said the two small fridges, fishing net, frying pan and plates he received have enabled him to increase his earnings by nearly 10 times.
He can support his family of eight comfortably from the $15-20 he makes on each of his two weekly fishing trips.
With his own gear now, he cuts out the middlemen he was paying for rental of nets, fridge facilities, and frying services that used to leave him with just two dollars profit after selling his fresh and fried fish.
“You can’t even compare life before and after. Everyone is now heading to the ocean and leaving the town behind, but before we were feeling discouraged about going out to sea,” he said.
Owning his own small fishing boat that he was given by his relatives, Abdiqafar divides his income into three: housekeeping for the family, paying off his $700 debts, and saving to advance his business.
He is also planning to enrol his two oldest sons in school for the first time.
The commissioner of Bender-siyadaqow, Abdirisak Mohamed Abdi, said 70 out of 240 local fishermen were selected to benefit from the fishing equipment given by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation on 13 February.
The authority was concerned that the local businesses renting out fishing equipment had increased their prices pointing to the rise in fuel prices, risking pushing many small fishermen like Abdiqafar out of a livelihood.
They were also concerned about other small businesses that should be thriving on the local resources of the sea.
Some restaurant owners like Intisar Nur Said received a freezer for fish and frying pans for cooking fish. She said that her business has already started improving.
Intisar set up shop selling tea and on her first day had to buy sugar on credit. Her business has been growing and she now sells food, including locally caught fish that she fries.
She supports her seven children and her husband, who lost his job four months ago as a watchman at a health centre in Bosaso that closed.
She was struggling to provide for her family and pay $14 for her two older children’s school fees. Now with her earnings up from a dollar to six to eight dollars a day, she can afford to provide three meals for her family.
With local fishermen now making good profits, Intisar said she is considering starting fishing herself.
A further 30 local people indirectly benefited from the improvement in access to fishing equipment through job opportunities.