Credit is an essential input for small-scale fisheries for a variety of important needs, and is effectively the lubricant that keeps the sector going.
SIFFS was under pressure from members to start a credit programme, since existing credit delivery systems like revolving their own savings, and district federation's credit system, were not in a position to give appropriate credit amount. Banks, on the other hand, do not meet fishermen needs and insist on collateral.
SIFFS initiated the Micro-Credit programme to achieve the following objectives.
To close the credit gap that exists due to the inability of other channels of institutional credit to cater to the needs of the members.
To remain an additional channel rather than to eliminate existing channels of institutional credit to members.
To use the SIFFS credit programme to introduce professionalism in the credit programmes of the district federations and societies, by example and through training and other forms of support.
To improve the credit worthiness and absorption capacity of the societies and members by introduction of new concepts and methods in selection, monitoring, etc.
To give a boost to the expansion of the SIFFS co-operatives and their membership.
To use credit as an instrument for fisheries management to the extent possible through supporting financing of appropriate technologies.
To support fisherwomen organizations, having historical links to SIFFS, to gain access to credit for their fish vending activities
Today, the SIFFS Micro-credit Programme is one of the fastest growing activities of the organization, and micro-credit accounts for more than 50 % of the loans given to member fishermen.
Through the credit programmes, the network (SIFFS, district federations and primary societies) covers almost all the requirements given below:
1. Purchase and renewal of fishing equipments
2. Repair and maintenance of fishing equipment
3. Food credit
4. Employment diversification
5. Post harvest activities (fish vending, fish processing)
6. Other consumption credit
7. Retirement benefit
The credit programme is closely linked with fish marketing and savings. Loan repayment is generally based on a percentage (10-15% depending on the quantum of loan) of fish catches, and not on a fixed instalment.
SIDBI and Canara Bank have been supporting the Micro-Credit programme of SIFFS