Photo: Participants representing the states Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, Livestock & Fisheries and Gender, Child & Social Welfare from Jubek, Torit and Terekeka during the workshop at Yam Hotel: 07/05/2018.
By David Mono Danga
Fisher Folks said difficulties in transporting fish from the source to the main markets remain the biggest challenge in the Fishery Sector of South Sudan.
In a workshop hosted by The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) last week, the participants discussed solutions for the main challenges affecting the fishery sector.
These challenges include; multiple taxes, lack of the necessary skills needed to handle the fish, lack of capital for fish businesses, and few motor boats for transporting the fish to the potential markets.
The participants from Terekeka and Torit states in particular raised concerns over storage facilities for the excess fresh and smoked fish at the respective landing sites.
According to economic expert Aggrey Tisa Sabuni who is also the Presidential Advisor on Economic Affairs, the country’s fish were dying of old age as no much effort was being made to exploit the fish resource in the country.
Sabuni who was on a talk-show on SSBC radio on Saturday said South Sudan needed to exploit the country’s mineral resources other than relying entirely on oil.
“We have a lot of resources underground. We have wild life. We have the Nile which is rich in waters and different species of fish. In fact our fish is dying of old age because we are not exploiting the fish resource. All these resources remain unexploited,” Sabuni said.
The National Minister of Livestock and Fisheries James Janka Duku earlier said that South Sudan has abundant fish resources if well exploited would help the country eradicate unemployment among the youth.
He said fish can ultimately contribute to food security. “We have over 100 species of fish in our waters and suitable land for fish farming to increase the amount of fish we produce. We can also looking into exporting our fish by focusing on adding value to the fish and fish products,” Minister Janka said.
UNIDO Chief Technical Advisor Laraisse Esserrhini who presented the benefits of the value chain approach to the fishery sector said the strategy would ensure that the fisher folk also benefit from fishing just as the fish retailers do in monetary value.
As well as the customers receive good quality fish and fish products.
Jubek State Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Rose Paulino added that the value chain approach strategy would also ensure that the families of the fisher folk living by the river would benefit from fishing as a business.
The Fisheries Project is being funded by the government of Canada and implemented by UNIDO and the Government of South Sudan.
It came to force since 2015 to contribute to food security. Its main focus has been an increase in the quantity and the quality of fish and fish products by fisher folks and ensuring a permanent fish flow to main markets in South Sudan.
The project also aims to increase small -scale business development related to the fishery sector by women as well as improving the capacity of fish resource management in government institutions.
The Fisheries project has achieved important physical infrastructure such as the Konyo-Konyo and Nimule Fish Markets in Juba and Nimule respectively. The landing site of Terekeka and two pilot fisher’s folk housing programs in Lowe and Muni fishing camps in Terekeka.
The project has also promoted some key business infrastructure particularly for women business groups such as Kuru Ko Wate Agro – Processing Facility in Juba and Ale Zoka Agro -Processing Facility in Nimule.
According to UNIDO the infrastructure has improved facilities for fish smoking in all the project intervention areas.
The project is also seeking to improve the capacity of beneficiaries through conducting trainings on business management, simple book keeping, hygienic fish handling, food and fruit processing, packaging and labeling of products, fish smoking and drying, fish market management.