A report on the first weeks of our fisheries operations
For once we let pictures speak – at least partially. As a review of the first weeks of fishing in Madagascar we have compiled a picture gallery. But we do not want to withhold some information and stories from you.
In 2017 we started with the conceptual work how to transform the water shops of the WWF in the south of Tulear into a self-sustaining model. Soon the plan was ready, we founded the NEXUS Madagascar Company (NEMACO) and took over the stations step by step. Today, the stations have been expanded into NEXUS Centers, with ice machines, cooling boxes, storage facilities and space for processing fishery products. A local team of over 30 employees manages the company.
That draws attention: Cleanliness and modern infrastructure
The northern three of the six NEXUS Centers have been in operation since July. The fishermen sell us their catch at the NEXUS Center. We have trained women from the respective villages to work as operators. They weigh and wash the products, pay the fishermen, take out the fish and store them on ice. Not all fishermen are cooperating with us yet. But NEMACO brings a lot of joy to the village. Fishermen have a place where they can sell their products fresh seven days a week and get paid directly. But the main reason for the enthusiasm is another: the cleanliness and professionalism of our infrastructure. An ice machine, a faucet and a real scale – that fascinates.
That is critical: The chance of sliding off
Every few days the NEMACO team collects the products by truck – the journey to Tulear begins. The truck heads north to Soalara, where the large blue fish tubs are loaded onto a pirogue (Malagasy canoe). The small boat delivers the products to Tulear, where they are transported by Zebu carts to customers (commercial dealers, restaurants, hotels and private individuals). Relief sets in every time the little pirogue has successfully transported the tubs across the strait and brought them safely to the shore.
That was quick: NEMACO-Shop opened in the heart of Tulear
You can smell the fish, the melting ice drips between the cracks of the cart. The Zebu cart loaded with fresh fisheries goods is on its way to the newly opened NEMACO Shop. The new shop was opened within a week. The fish can be stored there until they are picked up by customers or made ready for delivery.
This can’t be: Sand in the fish
Trust is a difficult issue in this region. The Vezo are a proud people – and extremely clever when it comes generating income. NEMACO stands for fair profits for all parties and plans to let the fishermen receive a share of NEMACO’s success in the future. But when it happens that the fishermen stuff sand into their fish to make them heavier, we realize that there is still a lot of trust-building work to be done.
The difficult village: Beheloke
Our problem child is the NEXUS Center in Beheloke. It is the biggest village in the area, so there is more competition – and nightclubs. These often distract the villagers from working, fishing and being diligent…
The big plus: An enthusiastic team
The model and the processes work, we are satisfied with the developments of the first weeks. Above all, we have a motivated team believing in NEMACO’s vision. 31 people are already working for us, another 18 will be added as the remaining NEXUS Centers open in the coming weeks.
This challenges us: When nothing is available
Nevertheless, challenges are part of the agenda. It is sometimes difficult to imagine how challenging the logistics in these villages are. Neither ATMs nor a petrol station nor stable telephone reception are available. This means meticulous planning of cash management, deliveries from Tulear, visits to the centres. All these processes will be optimised and made more efficient with increasing experience. We are also exposed to the weather. With the traditional material and the fishermen’s pirogues, no fishing is possible when the waves are high and our Centers remain empty. The corrosion is clogging the machines, this requires a lot of maintenance and know-how, which is not available on site.
What we do: We persevere
But it is precisely these challenges that make the work exciting, require close collaboration with the locals and allow NEMACO to develop to become a role model and valued institution in the area. We are motivated, experience new successes every day and are pleased with the many positive developments.
Source: nexus ch