With a view to improving and enhancing the living conditions of the fishery community in the island and educating them on the strengths that they possess among themselves to develop their livelihood as a business, putting entrepreneurship thinking into what they presently do, a series of training programmes has been commenced in the prominent fishing areas of the country.
The programmes cover Ampara, Chilaw (Puttalam District), Negombo (Gampaha District), Dehiwala (Colombo District), Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Kalutara, Mannar and Mullaitivu.
They are being conducted by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) through the ‘Restoration and Improvement of Fish Landing Centres with Stakeholder Participation in Management Project (I-FLCP)’ funded by CIDA and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development is the execution agency of the project.
The FCCISL has partnered with the project for the past 18 months providing assistance for information collection to develop business plans for fishery community-based organisations at the identified 17 fish landing centres in the above 12 districts nationwide.
It has been contracted to conduct 30 training programmes on micro financing for small entrepreneurship development and home economics to the members of the fishery community-based organisations.
The 29th of such programmes was held on 4 August at the Echankaduwa Fish Landing Centre in Kalpitiya for the members of two fishery community-based organisations on home economics with the participation of around 40 people including fishermen and members of their families.
The resource person was Patrick Fernando, a well accepted business development trainer with about 30 years of experience in the field of entrepreneurship development. At the training, it was explained that people of developed nations had become rich not because their countries were rich with resources but mainly because of their moral power to develop themselves.
He further explained to the participants that the dependency mentality and poor business thinking with conventional patterns and less market orientation had resulted in fishermen and their families remaining in poor amidst large number of resources and potential new ways within their areas which can be utilised for improvement of income generation.
Entrepreneurial qualities such as dedication, commitment, courage, passion, patience and keenness were reminded to the audience, convincing them to think fresh and take on all obstacles as challenges of success.
Fernando made them open their eyes and through group activities gave them the opportunity to find new lines of business ventures which could be easily initiated with the available resources from their vicinity and markets.
Successful Sri Lankan and overseas entrepreneurs with large business ventures were taken as examples and their start, resilience and strong visionary thinking were discussed to motivate the participants.
The full-day programme was not merely a lecture; it was conducted in an interactive manner, obtaining encouraging participation from the audience. Some group exercises were carried out to brainstorm and give rise to new business ideas which they could easily convert into practical businesses highly appropriate to their areas.
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Assistant Director Puttalam Anura Jayasekera and Fishery Inspectors of Puttalam District also participated in the training session.
As a part of the services, the project provided each fish landing centre with new infrastructure facilities, which was a long-felt need and vital basic requirement.