Jackson Msome, Musoma District Commissioner
Small-Scale fishermen and other entrepreneurs in Musoma district have been advised to create Savings & Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos) to fight poverty and raise economic growth.
Speaking exclusively to The Guardian last week, Jackson Msome the Musoma District Commissioner (DC) said: “At least 40 per cent of Musoma residents depend on fishing activities which in recent years have seen a decline in catches and lack of capital. As a result most of them have been living in abject poverty,” he said.
Msome said his office has set a deadline for all leaders to join the cooperatives and serve as role models for fishermen and other ordinary wananchi.
Msome further said: “By March this year, leaders of all levels in the district should have joined any of the 32 Saccos registered in the district,” he directed, adding: “I have spoken to leaders in all wards as well as the general public, encouraging them to either form new Saccos or join the established ones as a way of accessing soft loans from financial institutions and commercial banks to improve their situation.”
According to him, commercial banks are ready to work with such Saccos by extending low-interest loans to them to start their businesses.
Msome further noted: “Findings show that incomes of cooperative members record higher increases when they join the cooperatives as compared to non-member households.”
He said members can take their loans for different reasons; nevertheless, higher profit would be generated when members use higher amount of loan in diversified income-generating activities.
For his part, Magoti Bwire an artisan fisherman told this reporter: “This is good news to us as we have been struggling a lot to access loans, but with these news we hope things will change.”
Bwire explained that catches have declined due to poor fishing tools, as fish are found in deepe areas of the lake.
According to a recent Action Research Paper done by Namrata Sharma an economist and a private consultant, micro-finance and other services provided by the Saccos have generated impact not only to the livelihood of members at individual and household levels, but also to the community.