41 Pacific Islanders now proud recipients of seafood business micro-qualification
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41 Pacific Islanders recipients of seafood business micro-qualification
The Pacific is now the only region in the world with 41 qualified awardees to hold a Micro-Qualification in Establishing and Operating a Small Seafood Business. This has been made possible through scholarships awarded by the University of the South Pacific (USP) Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme.
Recognising the need to build capacity for small-scale seafood businesses, the USP PEUMP Programme held a second regional cohort of the micro- qualification commencing on August 24, with 26 scholarships awarded and delivered through the USP-Pacific Pacific Technical and Further Education
(TAFE) in Suva, Fiji. Out of these, 15 recipients are women including one from Kiribati, three from Tuvalu, one from Vanuatu and the rest from Fiji.
The first regional cohort, which was held in June 2020 had 15 graduates, nine of which were women.
Adi Alesi Viai, a nama (seagrapes) entrepreneur who dives and sells the coveted green caviar, said the course had really emphasised time management and planning for her business activities in Fiji.
“I dive for my own nama and I pick it very conservatively as I want to sustain their growth for future generations. After my harvest, I do my best to meet the demand of my customers and I factor in enough time to harvest, deliver and also sell,” she said.
Olevia Matage said her family runs a barbecue business in Tuvalu’s capital Funafuti, mainly cooking seafood and the course had encouraged her to streamline their eatery to include a creative consumer attraction strategy and how to manage finances more responsibly.
Romone Montin from Vanuatu, said the sea continues to push, challenge and prime every aspect of his life.
“I come from Malekula, which is the second largest island, and apart from 30 distinct languages in my community, our Pacific Ocean offers us sights to see that you cannot find anywhere in the world. This is why marine conservation was part of my career path. I have set up an aquaculture project previously, and with the knowledge gained from this course I will ensure my community back home can make money for themselves given the challenging times,” he said.
Raoinaba Tarawariki, transits into a seafood vendor and fisherwoman when she is in Betio, Kiribati to contribute to her family business as she works on completing her tertiary studies.
“This course helps me connect to reality on the ground back home and how I can use all these tactics that sustains our businesses’ and to ensure the concept is sustainable for our Pacific Ocean and our future as Pacific Islanders,” she said.
Elizabeth Galomule, a teacher with maternal links to the Solomon Islands worked with her mum to cook fish meals as a child and this income sustained the whole family.
“Whilst my mum is very astute with money, she lacks the skills to have a proper business plan in place since there are plans to branch out. These two weeks I have reminisced my humble beginnings on how to broaden the cuisine menu and transform to trend,” she said.
University of the South Pacific Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai said,“ with it’s mission and the current challenge presented by the global pandemic, COVID-19, the USP is more determined to provide communities and countries in the Pacific region with relevant, cost-effective and sustainable solutions, including entrepreneurship opportunities to rise above challenges.”
The two-week face-to-face micro-qualification course focused on the fundamentals of establishing and operating a small seafood business, business models and business plans, marketing strategies, basic accounting, records and operational management, legislative requirements for business establishment and ongoing compliance. It will assist Pacific Islanders to operate their businesses successfully and help entrepreneurs to establish a new business.
The USP is one of four key implementing partners of the overall PEUMP Programme, an initiative funded by the European Union and the Government of Sweden. The USP, as an implementing partner, focuses on building the capacity for Pacific islanders through education, training, research and development in fisheries and marine resources management.
The overall EUR 45million Programme promotes sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth, while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity. It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related ocean fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity building under one single regional action.
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