Some thirty women, representing fourteen cooperative societies operating in the artisanal fishing sector, attended a training session on the resilience fund approach from 21 to 23 June 2022. This initiative is promoted by FAO among vulnerable groups to mobilise financial resources for income-generating activities through village savings and credit associations (VSCAs).
The choice of fishmongers and fish and seafood processors was guided by the perishable nature of the foodstuffs handled, i.e. fishery products, and the need to have cash available on the spot to carry out transactions in order to avoid post-capture losses as much as possible, which are estimated at 21.53% of the total artisanal maritime catch.
Following the first information and sensitisation meeting on 17 May 2022 at the fishing port of Gbetsogbé, there was a lot of reluctance because the women hoped to have easier access to credit from financial institutions through the FAO.
The training sessions gave a glimmer of hope to the women who attended, when they realised that they could have access to loans from their cooperatives at low interest rates, which they defined themselves.
This is how 14 AVEC were set up in Gbetsogbé and Katanga, with 310 women involved. The minimum shares are fixed at 1000f. The duration of the credits granted is fixed at 3 months, with interest rates varying from 5% to 10%. The animation of these groups started in August 2022 and already on 31 December 2022, these 14 groups have mobilised together 14,213,000 francs as savings, 963,000 francs for the solidarity mutual aid funds. This amount mobilised internally has enabled 103 women to benefit from 10,842,000 CFA francs in credit.
"We are very happy with this AVEC approach that FAO has initiated. We take out loans on savings we have made ourselves and we have chosen an interest rate of 7%. We no longer go to microfinance institutions for loans and we are no longer under pressure to repay. We are very happy", says the president of AVEC la Persévérance, Mrs Houkpati Mevi.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.