Can you remember these words? ‘It is better to err on the side of caution than to risk with the environment’? NAFPAE-Cameroon is one of the best fish production and marketing enterprises dealing with the issues of socio-economic impact on the community and sustainability. The project is very environmentally friendly—keeping in mind the fact that we cannot ruin the earth while trying to feed the planet.
Who we are
The project proponent is Betrand Shitiet Njoya, 21; a Cameroonian, living in the North West region, in the city of Bamenda. I am the last boy in a family of three boys and two girls, born to the late chief Njoya Emmanuel and Queen Chafa Minatou of Bamunka village. I have received an award from the Columbia Business School, in collaboration with IFAD, CEED, VENTURE FOR ALL, SUSTERA, GYIN and WVED, on the project: Creating opportunity for rural youths (CORY project).
I also have roughly six months internship remaining before I obtain a Bachelor of Technology in agricultural and environmental engineering, from the College of Technology, a professional school in the University of Bamenda, Cameroon. I am the President of Joy and Success Club Bamenda, which aims to empower youths in entrepreneurship and agri-science, and am also the youth representative of the CORY project for North West region of Cameroon—just to emphasize that I am a volunteer at WVED and Educare Africa organizations. I love classical music and gospels, and also enjoy local football. My friends say I always surprise people with the wonderful things I do. For that reason I have been nicknamed ‘Spiritus’, for I act like a coach and empower the spirits of others.
What is NAFPAE-Cameroon all about?
Looking at what I want to do and how I want to do it: it all starts with the market opportunities available in the fish sector in Cameroon. Just to name a few: over 78% of the 21 million people in Cameroon consume fish without any complaints of health disasters. This products is praised on a daily basis: the common man needs a good source of protein to live like any other person. In addition, fish is one of the major sources of protein in Cameroon, but most families cannot afford it. It is scare and expensive, and most families suffer from malnutrition. Furthermore, the fish sector in Cameroon is lucrative but supply is limited in the market, with few people involved and interested in the production of fish.
Looking at the feasibility of this project, I noticed that it cuts across the rural and urban settings. Almost all age groups desire both fresh and smoked fish. Furthermore, the availability of resources—such as land, water, skilled personnel, and raw materials for feed production—are easy to come by and are cheap at the level of the rural communities, the only limitation is financial. The potential customers have been identified as hotels (like King’s Heritage, Blue Pearl, Royal Garden, and Atlanta), restaurants, boarding schools, cold stores, and road-side vendors (those that roast fish). I intend to attract these customers via communications channels such as radio, television, flyers, posters, and signposts. I will deliver products to them by using distribution channels such as door-to-door delivery and on-site sales.
NAFPAE-Cameroon gives as a value proposition to its customers the following:
- High-quality and -quantity fresh fish at moderate prices.
- A good source of omega-6 fatty acids, which is good for diabetic patients on special diets.
- NAFPAE-Cameroon is very natural (organic and hygienic) in the production, and will be purely organic so as to maintain the level of health worthiness required by the nation.
- Reliability in supply and timely delivery on request are my priorities.
The cost structure of this project is divided into: fixed costs (land rents, taxes, salaries, feed, electricity bills) and variable costs (purchase of fingerlings, transportation of raw and finished product). The main revenue stream is sales of fresh fish. Also, in the long run, feed production and distribution to other fish farmers at a small scale. The fish pond site will also act as a site for recreation; fishing trips and relaxation fees will be paid by visitors. The customers will pay in cash or by cheque and it will be an instant payment.
How I intend to use the grant to meet my goals
Bearing in mind that two ponds of 600 m2, with a holding capacity of 1,200 kg of brood stock each, will be constructed and joined. Together with other expenses, this results in a total start-up cost amount of CFAF 2,360,000 (USD 3,933.33), which will be needed for the project to succeed.
Sticking to the objectives sidelined, the key activities earmarked for this project must be carried out to meet the target, which includes things like:
- Acquisition and renting of land for pond construction
- Legal registration of NAFPAE-Cameroon
- Labour recruitment
- Construction of earthen and concrete ponds
- Purchase of fingerlings
- Purchase of raw materials for production or formulation of feed
- Signing of partnership agreements with hotels restaurants and bike riders for door-to-door delivery of fresh fish
- Feeding of fish and marketing.
- Maintenance and management of the pond.
Following all my activities strictly, and mitigating all the risk identified, gives me an assurance of achieving total sales of CFAF 3,180,000 (USD 5,300) for every cultivation season, if I sell at CFAF 1,325 (USD 2.21) per kilogram of catfish as the main product.
Remember, this is just for one stream of revenue. At this point, having in mind all the activities that are involve in this project helped me to understand my competitors’ strengths, which include: some of them are more experienced in the field, have customers’ trust, and their farms are located in urban settings. Also, skilled human labour is available to some extent and they have more available land at their disposal.
- Nevertheless my advantages over them are very significant and include:
- A good presentation of products in the market (as a new product)
- I am coming in with many local fish species
- Improved system of communication and timely delivery
- Good security network and care
With these, NAFPAE-Cameroon stands a better chance of working out its weaknesses, which includes poor presentation of products in the market, limited fish species, and a poor system of communication.
But even with all these advantages I still have some threats such as inadequate experience in the field, no fixed customers yet, but potential, limited land, as a new competitor in the market selling products indirectly.
As a youth, I have a lot of personal drivers and motivations pushing me to embark on aquaculture. I can say that I have the passion to: employ other under-privileged youths in society, and improve living standard by reducing hunger and malnutrition, as far as protein sources are concerned, and improve my personal knowledge of aquaculture and aquaponics.
I love to act like a standard and teacher to other fish farmers. As a child I watched my father running and managing his pond and, at the age of 15, I created my first fish pond, when I was in class 7 but later closed it. And now I am studying agricultural and environmental engineering with the vision of opening and managing a system of fishponds one day—one that will be a leading enterprise in Cameroon and the world at large.
NAFPAE-Cameroon will become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cameroon.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Betrand Shitiet Njoya (Cameroon): shitietbe[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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