Since the coronavirus became a pandemic, the demand for seafood in many key markets has plummeted. Seafood processors and exporters – especially those that service fresh markets and the restaurant and hotel sectors – have seen a steep reduction in orders. This, in turn, has reduced the amount of seafood purchased from small-scale fishers. Even when demand is there, logistical channels are unreliable and production facilities struggle to open safely. With the buying stopped and supply chains disrupted, small-scale fishers have lost their main source of income and struggle to purchase essential goods needed to sustain their families.
In response, the Meloy Fund has been working with its portfolio companies to implement a COVID-19 rapid response plan to ensure the long-term viability of the companies and their suppliers during this period of unprecedented disruption in the supply chain.
The Meloy Fund’s business relief plan has three primary strategies, which have been in process since March of this year:
Ensure portfolio companies’ ongoing financial viability, through loan modification programs as necessary.
Encourage the companies to provide continued employment or support to their employees via financial incentives.
Deploy rapid response loans to small businesses facing severe liquidity challenges in order to facilitate the re-opening of critical supply chains. Doing so both enables food to get back on the shelves, domestically and internationally, and also provides a critical income source for small-scale fishers and mariculture farmers.
Community Safety and Relief
In addition to the above, another critical component of the Meloy Fund’s relief effort focuses on providing assistance to the 25,000 small-scale fishers and their family members who depend on income provided by our portfolio companies as the primary source of their livelihoods.
To help, in partnership with its portfolio companies and with funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Meloy Fund has assembled a package of emergency aid that includes basic staple food items and health and safety equipment that allows a minimum level of fishing to continue. Two months of aid has been distributed to date, reaching 1,000 fishers in Indonesia and the Philippines, benefitting up to 5,000 household members. We will continue to provide support for as long as possible; until government aid can reach these communities and/or supply chains begin to recover.
Meloy Fund partners in Indonesia and the Philipines distribute aid kits to sites in Maumere and Lebak (Indonesia), and Infanta, Subic, Sablayan, and Mamburao (Philippines). This relief has been made possible with the generous support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)