Regional Workshop on Promotion of Alternative Livelihoods Business through the Establishment of Autonomous Fisheries Community-based Resource Co-management System

Date: 25-27 March 2013
Venue: Bangkok, Thailand


1. Lesson-learned the alternative livelihood business creation through autonomous community-based resource management systems;
2. To find out the key factor and the successful way of the effectiveness of financial and economic business operation in fishing community.

Background of the Regional Workshop

Establishment of the system of Autonomous Community-based Resource Management (ACBRM) is also useful to improve local livelihoods and alleviate poverty in fishing communities through finding the way of alternative livelihoods business, financial and economic activities such as micro-finance system, bulk purchase and auction system. Therefore, the Regional Workshop was organized to improve the knowledge of ASEAN fisheries officers for the concepts, principles and practice of promotion of alternative livelihoods business and financial and economic activities for alleviation poverty, and its additional function in autonomous community-based resource management.

Conclusion of the Regional Workshop

The SEAFDEC Member Countries presented their activities concerned alternative livelihoods business through fisheries community-based resource management. Besides, the role and future plan for promoting alternative livelihoods business, financial and economic activities also was clarified in the meeting. Moreover, the resource persons presented on the lesson-learned and experiences related to alternative livelihoods and promoting micro-finance services and activities. The lesson-learns were emphasized in various projects such as Integrated Coastal Resources Management in Pathew District project, Thailand (ICRM-PD) and Sihanoukville, Cambodia (ICRM-SV), as well as the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP). Furthermore, the Regional Workshop found out the key factors of success of alternative livelihoods business including the way forward for promoting of alternative livelihoods and the financial and economic creation. The key factors that lead to successful alternative livelihood initiatives are divided into 11 factors;
1) Cohesiveness at work,
·         fostering a spirit of working together or camaraderie.
·         Motivating the spirit of community solidarity.

2) Sustainability,
·         Shifting of project operational obligations to be defined during planning.
·         Ensuring that business or alternative livelihood initiatives can be handled by communities.

3) planning,
·         Minimizing too ambitious and unrealistic original plans in many cases.
·         Participatory planning with communities must be observed.

4) Selection of target business or livelihood alternatives,
·         Determining the readiness of stakeholders to undertake a new challenge.
·         Considering the unique characteristic of communities in planning livelihood alternatives.
·         Evaluating market demand for alternative livelihood products.
·         Considering the risks of undertaking new business options comprising technically unknown factors.

5) Accounting and bookkeeping,
·         Establishing transparency in handling money.
·         Improving financial management capacity of concerned stakeholders.
·         Maintaining accurate records of raw materials, production, sales, etc.

6) Initial funds,
·         Creating initial fund (seed money) to start new livelihood initiatives.
·         Obtaining government or donors support which is necessary to create initial fund.

7) Revolving funds and micro-credit scheme,
·          Establishing an internal micro-credit facility or community savings scheme for small scale initiatives might be a practical option.
·         Maintaining revolving funds.

8) Government support,
·         Fostering government’s ability to provide technical and financial support when required.

9) Institutional support,
·         Ensuring that all local livelihoods or business initiatives take place under the umbrella of local institutions, e.g. fisheries cooperatives.

10) Leadership,
·         Having dynamic and competent leadership of the group is essential.
·         Having smart officers and smart fishers (experienced and knowledgeable, skillful, good attitude, practicing good governance, strongly committed) is necessary.

11) Fisheries management organizations.
·         Establishing fisheries co-management organizations such as fisheries cooperatives as basis for developing livelihood initiatives/alternatives.

Moreover, the recommendations was clarified from the participants such as 1) Conducting local training programs to start livelihood alternatives, 2) Dissemination of the livelihood programs to village levels, 3) Development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for fisheries products.