Government should look at helping revive the fishermen’s cooperative societies in all the islands of Vanuatu as a way to help develop seafood market strategies for seafood producers of the country, Isaac Seru, the representative of the Futuna Fishermen’s Cooperative Society has suggested.

Seru, a participant at last week’s seafood export market development (SEMD) training at the Department of Agriculture at Tagabe in Port Vila said the structure of the national fishermen’s cooperative societies is already in place. All that is needed is for government to assist its revival and to strengthen its operation until it can stand on its own.

In 2004, the structure was set up with the assistance of then Director of the Department of Cooperatives, George Borugu under which each of the main islands of the country had a fishermen’s cooperative society. Today only a few are operating such as the Futuna Fishermen’s Cooperative Association that buys fish from the island’s fishermen and sells its excess supply to the Tafea provincial fishermen’s cooperative association on Tanna.

With the revival of the Cooperative Federation center at Man Ples in Port Vila it is an ideal opportunity for fishermen in all the islands to revive their cooperative societies and to use the cooperative federation as their market source and as a spring board from which to launch their plans for bigger markets overseas. Isaac Seru gave his suggestion during a presentation from Vanuatu’s Trade Commissioner to Sydney, Donald Pelam, who spoke to the participants about the market in Australia. The two-week national training course was funded by the New Zealand Pacific Fisheries Training Programme (PFTP) and is being held from April 3 through 13. It was facilitated by University of the South Pacific trainers – Cherie Morris, Shirleen Bala and Viliame Rabici and supported by in-country experts.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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