Guidelines for microfinance and credit services in support of small-scale fisheries

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Date & Time:  8 April (12.00 noon Bangkok, GMT +7) and (8.00 am Kenya, EAT)

Organized under Global Network for capacity building to increase access of small-scale fisheries to financial services (CAFI SSF Network)

Press coverage

The Global Network for capacity building to increase access of small-scale fisheries to financial services (CAFI-SSF Network) organized the first virtual talk series webinar on 8 April 2021 “Guidelines for microfinance and credit services in support of small-scale fisheries”, in association with its nodal regional partners AFRACA (African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association) and  APRACA (Asia -Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association). The webinar had eminent speakers with experience in microfinance, credit and investment in fisheries sector, agriculture and rural finance, economic and development issues. More than 60 participants associated with financial sector joined the session from various regions; Africa, Asia- Pacific and Latin America.

The webinar opened with an introduction to participants about the Network objective, strategy and plans, membership details to voluntarily join and contribute to the region-wise working groups of the Network.

This was followed by talk from four eminent speakers on the following topics:

i) Blue finance for small-scale fisheries(SSF) that discussed about the overarching Blue Economy and its common components including fisheries and aquaculture that constitute and contribute towards the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and improved livelihoods. It focused on increased need for microfinance and credit for fishers, highlighted the limited access of finance, constraints to financial service provisions for SSF and consequences that lead to lost opportunity in general for the blue growth.  The talk further provided guidance on how various financial tools and services can contribute to the blue economy and blue growth by discussing the blue finance guidance notes relevant to SSF.

ii) Guidelines for microfinance and credit services in support of small-scale fisheries the thematic topic of the webinar  discussed the importance of finance for SSF, entry and leverage points for financial institutions to provide services, the wide gamut of  actors that can supply the financial services to the capture fishery sector. The speaker also brought forth the similarities and key differences through comparative approaches in agriculture and capture fisheries and emphasized the unique elements related to the SSF activity and economy by suggesting various product types. Key pointers on how to design products, policies and procedures along with potential delivery channels that may help to reduce cost and lower risks for SSF related products and services.

iii) Key representatives from AFRACA (Africa Rural and Agricultural Credit Association) and APRACA (Asia -Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association) presented an overview of their organizations involvement in projects and advocacy work associated with the fisheries sector amongst the member institutions in their regions. They further brought forth the issues, challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed at the regulatory level to initiate policies and guidelines that will support an inclusive financing strategy for the small-scale fisheries in Asia-Pacific and Africa region.

The CAFI-SSF Network plans to organize more of these thematic talk series during the year.

Follow the CAFI-SSF Network on Linkedin

You can find the recording at the end of this page.

Glimpses of Webinar Session





The fisheries and aquaculture sector produces annually 179 million tonnes of fish and fishery products for human consumption. The sector provides worldwide employment to 59 million people (39 million in fisheries and 20.5 million in aquaculture) in fish production and to many more people in value chain activities. Fishers produce 96 million tons of fish and fisheries products for human consumption and therefore play a very important role in achieving global food security (FAO, 2020). For instance, the sector supplies an average 20.5 kg of fish/capita/year and contributes 17 percent of total animal protein, and 7 percent of all proteins, consumed globally (FAO, 2020). The role of fisheries and aquaculture in providing food, nutrition and employment is significant and growing. Employment in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors has grown faster than the world population and faster than employment in traditional agriculture.

Over 90 percent of small-scale fishers (SSF) and aquaculture farmers live in developing countries and often they are fully dependent on the sector for their livelihoods. SSF is emerging as a dynamic and evolving sub-sector of fisheries that employs labor intensive harvesting, processing, and distribution technologies to harness inland and marine water fishery resources. Small-scale fisheries are generally profitable and are key to the environmental, economic, and social well- being of many coastal and inland communities, yet access to financial services is still a challenge as compared to small-holding agriculture farming communities.

The Food and Agriculture Organization has been proactively promoting and advocating for supporting the SSF. In Member countries of FAO, together with thousands of SSF stakeholders, have developed and adopted in 2014 the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). These SSF Guidelines recognize the limitations in financial access and dearth of investments in the SSF sector and call upon States to support access of small-scale fishing communities to savings, credit, and insurance schemes.

FAO collaborates with fisheries agencies, Financial Institution’s, and fisher-folk organization to increase access of fishers and fish workers to credit, micro-finance, and insurance services.

To further facilitate and deepen the efforts, involve and engage more stakeholders across the Asia Pacific and Africa regions, the FAO supported initiative CAFI SSF – Global Network for capacity building to increase access of small-scale fisheries to financial services (CAFI SSF Network)[1] is organizing  a webinar on “Guidelines for microfinance and credit services in support of small-scale fisheries”, in association with its nodal regional partners APRACA and AFRACA.


  • To increase awareness about the financial service needs of small-scale fishers (SSF) for more sustainable and inclusive access to finance,
  • To guide policy and decision makers in the Asia-Pacific, Africa region and elsewhere, to help introduce and incentivize financial services to small-scale fishers, with the ultimate objective to encourage investment in the industry and by doing so influence and strengthen sustainability and ecological and economic viability of these fisheries,
  • To build capacity among financial service providers, fisher-folk organizations, NGOs, and concerned government agencies, to design and implement financial service products and programmes that suit the needs of small-scale fishing communities and enhance social protection, and
  • To promote financial services that incentivize and reward a responsible and sustainable conduct of fishing, fish processing and marketing operations.

This CAFI SSF Webinar is organized for all stakeholders involved with SSF and finance.

The detailed webinar agenda is attached. Please RSVP to the CAFI SSF Coordinator: cafi-ssf@fao.org or suchitra.upare@fao.org