Entrepreneurship in Small-scale Fisheries as Means of Creating Long-term Jobs

By DR KASSIM MHINA

APART from small-scale fisheries, which the author is interested in this time, entrepreneurship is a cross-cutting issue that is also critical in fishery sector development in the country.

A quick scrutiny of statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (TBS) indicates that Tanzania’s population has more than quadrupled from 12.3 million in 1967 to 57.6 million in 2020. The average annual population growth rate is 3.1 per cent and youths constitute 43 per cent of the total population.

Thanks to the government, Tanzania will have a national population and housing census in August 2022 to obtain updated data.

Nonetheless, creating jobs in all sectors including small-scale fisheries is critical to achieving sustainable development and bringing in investors is a critical strategy for creating jobs for young people. This caption complements the efforts of our president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, to create long-term jobs in Tanzania.

According to Vision 2025, Tanzania should have developed a strong, diverse, resilient, and competitive economy capable of effectively coping with development challenges. This must adapt confidently to changing market and technological conditions in regional and global economies.

Similar to other economic sectors, Small-scale fisheries have an abundance of resources that can be used creatively to assist the country in solving the problem of youth unemployment.

Agriculture, for example, employs 75 per cent of Tanzanians, despite accounting for only 30 per cent of the country’s GDP (roughly US Dollars 18 billion).

The manufacturing and service industries contribute the remaining 70 per cent. This is not surprising given that agriculture contributed 80 per cent of Korea’s GDP between 1950 and 1960; with the remaining 20 per cent split between the service and manufacturing sectors.

Interestingly, not only in Korea but around the world, agriculture has been contributing less and less in comparison to other sectors. In fact, a similar situation is expected to occur in Tanzania; where the number of people employed in agriculture is decreasing while those employed in service and manufacturing industries are increasing.

South Korea is specifically compared to Tanzania because the two countries’ development trends from agriculture to manufacturing and service sectors are nearly identical.

What role does entrepreneurial knowledge play in the creation of jobs in small-scale fisheries? To properly answer the question, we must consider how far we have exploited our marine resources to benefit our economy.

The available data indicates that the fishing industry employs over 4,000,000 people including fishers, processors, traders, etc. Approximately 75- per cent of fisheries employment is informal, making it impossible for the government to collect the necessary revenues.

Tanzania Revenues Authority (TRA) should leverage the fishery industry in order to increase the number of taxpayers Instead of increasing levies to existing items each fiscal year.

Furthermore, the contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is only 1.75 per cent; compared to Seychelles, where the fishery sector contributes 17 per cent of GDP.

Small-scale fishers, on the other hand, produce around 400,000 tonnes per year, far less the annual fish demand of around 700,000 tonnes.

The current fish consumption is 7-8kg per person per year, a value that is far lower than the global fish intake of 20kg per person per year.

Although capital is important in leveraging marine resources, providing entrepreneurship skills to small-scale fishers should not be overlooked. This must go hand in hand with the provision of eco-credits in fisheries to increase the number of people employed. The strategy can improve business capacities, thereby increasing income.

Small-scale fisheries in Tanzania face a number of challenges that limit their economic impact. Typical challenges include a lack of an entrepreneurial culture among coastal residents.

Fishery activities are conducted solely to meet basic needs, with no expansion or technological change. There is no favourable legal environment that encourages fishing groups to be entrepreneurial.

Similar to the media industry, a law could be enacted to define the types of skills and conditions required for anyone to work in fisheries.

Another issue is the scarcity of entrepreneurship education in both formal and informal educational systems. Contrary to popular belief, a significant number of small-scale fishers have obtained an education, according to our recent survey.

The argument here is to persuade policymakers to expand the curriculum to include fishery education in Secondary schools. There is also a significant challenge in obtaining affordable financing in the form of start-ups, investments, or working capital.

Nonetheless, these issues have been addressed in a series of previous publications ‘aimed at supporting ‘small scale fishers; with the year 2022 designated as the “International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, having the slogan “small in scale, big in value.”

Another barrier that small-scale fishers who are already in business or want to start one face are a lack of knowledge about and access to relevant business development services and support schemes.

Most of us (Tanzanians) are very good at articulating challenges but when it comes to finding innovative solutions; everyone puts their hands behind their backs. So, what can be done to create long-term jobs in fisheries?

The best way is to create a skill-training programme to open up their minds, build their capability in searching for valuable opportunities, and be able to utilise them productively.

Enterprise education provides valuable life skills; an entrepreneurial mindset and promotes confidence, communication and decision-making skills.

This can help to create new jobs, both for the fishers who own boats and those who are employed by boat owners. Implementation of the idea can be done by involving innovative private companies in shipbuilding & repair; fish processing, fish trade and marketing to absorb an appreciable number of youths and graduates interested in fisheries and its value chains to acquire basic technical skills and sales & marketing skills.

This caption cannot end without mentioning the importance of instilling an entrepreneurial culture in small-scale fisheries. First and foremost, entrepreneurial culture promotes innovation and long-term development by creating jobs that protect and restore our marine environment. It can also. Help to improve the employment situation by increasing the income of fishermen. Finally, entrepreneurship improves the capabilities of small and medium-sized businesses.

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