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Union Island launches Fisher folk co-operative

Union Island launches Fisher folk co-operative


After a number of failed attempts to form Fisher folk co-operatives in the Grenadines, the Union Island fishers have welcomed its new Fisher folk co-operative.{{more}}

The Union Island Fisher Folk Association (UIFFA) was launched on Sunday, October 30. The first General Meeting was also held as an executive committee was selected to lead the organization for the next year.

Over the years, the fisher folk in the Southern Grenadines faced many challenges in the areas of marketing, fuel prices, storage facility and proper representation by government.

According to Matthew Harvey, the interim president of the Union Island Fisher folk association, and the one who has led the collaboration of the fishers in the Southern Grenadines for the last 2 years, “The formation of this co-operative will seek to address these problems and bring benefits to the fishers.”

Addressing the launch was parliamentary representative for the Southern Grenadines Terrence Ollivierre. He applauded the initiative and said that it is a good opportunity to create sustainable livelihoods to improve the overall lives of the people there.

The launch took place at the Ashton Multi-purpose centre, on Union Island.

The process that led to the collaboration of fisher folk throughout the Grenadines was started about two years ago by Sustainable Grenadines inc. (SusGren), a Grenadines NGO which arose after eight years of environmental and sustainable livelihoods work in the Grenadines.

Patterson Homer of the Co-operatives Division was very supportive of the SusGren initiative from the start and promised to provide continued supervision and other support to the fisher folk co-operative.

This is an exciting time for the fisher folk of Union Island and the other Grenadine islands. Gaining cooperative status is a big step in creating sustainable livelihoods and making moves towards a bountiful future for the fisher folk of the Grenadines, their families, and communities.