Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Work Done on the Business Development Services (BDS), MSME, Catfish Farming Industry Supply Chain Development Project.

The end of yet another quarter of project activity is a delightful one for us as well as for the Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) because there is no doubt that our success is also your success.

This is not just a successful execution of the initial project year gone half way (2 quarters or 6 months) but it is for us also the successful opening and running of a new business arm for half a year. You will agree that in business this is an important mile stone.
The Kafanchan branch of PPG Enterprises came about as a result of this project and we have seen this branch grow rapidly increasing our reach to the society, widening our business base (number of employees, assets and revenue) and most importantly another avenue to affect lives positively and contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihood.
Other achievements worthy of note are in improved capacity in the areas of Accounting, Business management and ICT. We now have our mail server, a web page (though icecool is taking forever to host it) a blog where we keep diary of important activities and a company brochure.
Before proceeding into details I am eager to mention that it is not only PPG Enterprises that has grown as a result of this project but while on client Monitoring & Evaluation for the end of this quarter we saw over 10 MSMEs that were given birth to at the beginning of this project already actively in business and have even achieved substantial growth over these 6 months.


Publicity and Awareness
There was a considerable increase in the level of awareness of the project activities. Trainings were announced on television (NTA Kafanchan) as well as other publicity materials such as fliers and handbills. The Social & faith-based institutions were involved as they mobilized their members to take part in trainings.

We held two (2) batches of training this quarter. The training was broken down as decided after the previous quarter into 4 modules;
- General Introduction to Fish faming – The basics.
- Central farm services & raising of catfish, Feeds and feed formulation
- Hatching and hatchery systems services
- Business Training and How to package your business to access funds.
The course content and price list are attached.
This quarter we broke our coverage area into four zones, Kwoi, Kafanchan, Zonkwa and Samaru Kataf, and went to each zone to conduct trainings. Thus, our reach was wider.

Advisory & Extension Services
There is an increase in demand of advisory services as compared to the 1st quarter with more people willing to part with their money as payment for such services. This can be attributed to the fact that a lot of fish farms were start-ups and they needed guidance as they seemed to be facing beginning challenges of mainly water management and fingerling management because of their young/tender nature. Other aspects that saw clients come in for advisory services were on business management and accessing funds for their development. To this effect we got in contact with the Micro-finance banks (MFB) within the communities and we had success with Commonwealth MFB where one of our clients (Nyah Audu) was able to access funds for growth of his business. Other clients are also billed to benefit from Fantsuam Foundations Micro Finance arm at the beginning of next quarter as arrangements have already been made.

Client Monitoring & Evaluation
This was the most interesting aspect of the project so far as we were able to see a visible translation to reality of our efforts on the project so far. We traveled the entire rural area to visit clients and though it was a hectic exercise it was worthwhile. This felt like another “rural rugged” an exercise embarked on by Christian Corps members. From the clients visited during the monitoring and evaluation exercise we have a good number of success stories to share.

Success Stories:
Peter Keta
This man who is over 60 years old attended the training in the first quarter and again in the second quarter. We had not seen much activity from him as regards purchase of feeds or fingerlings but when we went on the M&E exercise we saw 3 sizeable earthen ponds (1500 average capacity each) he had just completed. He is set to stock at the beginning of next year. He says he is excited as at his age he sees that he has finally found a way out of poverty for his extended family and himself.

Nyah Audu
During the first training we conducted, this young man was a participant and while he was on training he practiced what he was learning by immediately putting up a pilot fish farm of 250 fish capacity. We saw so much activity from him in terms of purchase of fingerlings and feeds, which prompted us to visit his farm. The most interesting thing about his case is that he started with very little capital expenditure (N17,500) as he built the concrete pond himself and the prospect of making profits and breaking-even (expected income N74,000) in just the first cycle has led him to building 2 bigger ponds with the help of a loan he acquired through our network.

Yakubu Ezekiel (Jaja)
At this fish farm two young men, after going through the first quarter training, came together to start a fish farm (700 fish capacity) that has experience very little mortality with great growth. They are also excited and are already rallying for fund for expansion as our advices to be patient and allow the business to grow itself seemed too far away for them.

Col. Kachim
He is a retired military man with a passion for agriculture. This is demonstrated by the number and variety of animals & birds of his farm which is part of his residential home. He was able to complete a fish farm project he started 2 years ago after coming in contact with this project and is set to stock his pond by January 2009. His farm is large and will employ a minimum of 3 hands when full operation starts next year.

Danlami Uzi
At his farm we were surprised by the welcome accorded to us. He is a staff of Fire service and had asked the zonal manager to use a space within the Fire service complex for his fish farm. The progress they saw with the fish farm got the entire staff fascinated and they took the farm as their own. The Zonal manager was excited to see those who had prompted this young staff of his to such an enterprising venture and had asked to partner with the project to train fire service staff as a way of creating other sources of income for the staff. The office agreed to give Danlami more space of which he has constructed to 2 ponds (2000 carrying capacity each) and is waiting to complete the well before stocking.

Mrs Bakut
She has got a fish farm of about 700 capacity built in her home with a well as the source of water and a pump to get water into the ponds. She had challenges of mortality of the fingerlings but after our intervention they are coping fine.

Rev. Thomas B.
This is another enterprising elderly man who just started fish farming as an inclusion to his poultry farm. The farm is currently doing fine.

Yabo Nuhu
The activity we saw on this client in purchasing fish feeds led us to visit his farm. He had come in at one time to ask for advice of the feed size to give his fish and then asked us to visit his farm if we had time. Though he got his fingerlings elsewhere, he got to find out about us when he needed feeds and then he realized we offered other services, which he took advantage of. He has already acquired a plot for expansion and is awaiting funds from his first sales to embark on the expansion. He has about 700 fish in his pond.

Mary Jatau
The zeal of this woman was good to see as she is doing her fish farm in two plastic containers and a metal bath despite space and land constraints. The amount of energy and determination she has put, if channeled properly will yield great results. This was our advice to her. We gave her advices to ease her endeavors and encouraged her to carry on.

Partnership with the Government
We have been working in close partnership with the Kaduna State Agriculture Development Project (KADP) on our project activities. The KADP is the voice of the Government in projects related to Agriculture. We have worked closely with the KADP Samaru zone to ensure Agricultural development in the region and State. Such partnership and efforts have fostered Agricultural development, particularly in the Southern Kaduna zone, which has been recognized through visits by the State Programme Director and a Project team made up of Project Staff and consultants on two separate occasions, to appreciate, encourage and explore other avenues of partnership.
We also have plans, awaiting approval, to extend our services to each Local Government of Kaduna State.


“Bearing the right attitude, the challenges you face in life will make you rather than mare you.” As it is always the case with any worthy Endeavour, we had a number of challenges but we thank God he gave us the knowledge and enablement to handle our challenges and it is these challenges, ironically, that are responsible for the growth and development of this project in a number of ways, which include;

1. Challenge - A constraint of good location in terms of source of water and adequate space for our clients who were interested, some already practicing, and had gone through training to show their readiness and determination to get into the practice of fish farming.
Response – We came up with a community fish pond scheme (earthen). Here we locate a good site (close to the river) within the community and secure a sizeable piece of land where we construct earthen ponds of different sizes close to the water source (river) with a central security and water flow. This is made available to our farmer client on an agreement basis (rent or a certain percentage of sales). This is what informed the Ungwa-rimi project which has been completed and stocked with fish. In the following half year we will replicate the same scheme in Zauru community.
This has no doubt widened our business base, our reach and also our source of income.

2. Challenge – A very low number of women involved and high gender imbalance.
Response – We designed a new training course (package); Fish Drying & Grilling Training targeted at the women to get them actively involved in the catfish supply chain. This will strengthen our network (supply chain) as well as solve the challenge of producing farmers who have fish that are not growing, the way out being to dry them and sell as dried fish as people hardly purchase the fish fresh when they are not properly grown.

3. Challenge – Stunted growth of the fish of a number of fish farmers although we have not received such complaints from clients who purchased fish seeds (fingerlings) from us.
Response – We are doing a research and already experimenting cross breeding the African catfish (clarias gariepinus) with the fast growing catfish specie, mari. We want to be able to offer our clients a fast growing specie of catfish that will make breaking even as a business more feasible since they will be able to grow the fish to table size in a shorter period with less consumption of feeds.

4. Challenge – Clients complain of Breaking even as a result of the amount they spend to feed the fish to achieve optimum results. Most time they complain the money spent on feeding is too high and makes the effort futile.
Response – Research on Local feed formulation that will be cheap and still yield optimum growth of fish. The research is presently ongoing.

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