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5. Use of income


5. Use of income

5.1 Composition of women's income

Apart from women's revenues out of fishing and fishing-related activities, the money they have at their disposal to continue economic activities and to fulfil household responsibilities, constitutes the following elements: revenues from additional sources of income, credit, contributions from their husband (in cash and in kind), and revenues from financing and investment in other people's fishing activities (in kind). Table 8 gives an overview

Table 8 Composition of women's income

 

Average Monthly Revenues of Women (in N*)

Average monthly revenues from additional sources

529

Credit

613

Husband's contribution to the household budget

1 191

Returns from financing and investment in fisheries

fish

TOTAL

2333 + fish

* 1 US$ = N 85

Eleven (11) women in the sample have revenues from additional sources. More than 50% of them are involved in petty trading, one is selling wrappers, one runs a filmhouse and provides lodging facilities, and another is a teacher. Their revenues vary from N200 to N7,000 monthly with an average of N2,733, resulting in a sample average of N529 Only four (4) of the 31 women interviewed had borrowed money recently, varying from N2,000 to N10,000 with an average of N4,750 This results in a sample average of N613.

Credit refers to personal loans women took. This applies to only 4 women in the sample (13%). Three of them borrowed money from the thrift collector they regularly save with, and one woman took a loan from her society (see section 5.5). The amounts borrowed vary from N2,000 to N10,000. All but one loan have to repaid within six months, and interest rates vary from 1 to 20% per month. It must be noted that buying fish on credit is not included in the figure.

Husband contribution is reported by only 32% of the women. This contribution can be in cash, in kind or-both. Contributions in kind are fish, known as the family ration that fishermen often put aside The figure in the table includes quantities of fish contributed (converted to money) Contributions vary from N1,000 to N10,000 with a sample average of N1,190.

Returns from financing and investment in other people's activities are in kind In fact, this is the main reason for women to involve themselves in these type of arrangements; to guarantee fish supply on credit. These arrangements are described in detail in section 5 4.

5.2 Household expenses

Apart from their economic activities, women are responsible for household chores and household expenditure. As shown in the section above they use their own money, eventually complemented by contributions of their husbands. Table 9 shows the average monthly household expenses of the women

Table 9 Average monthly household expenditure (in N*)

 

Monthly Expenditure

 

Number of Women

Average Spending per Woman

Sample Average

Food

31

4 176

4 176

Education

13

434

181

Pocket money

21

608

412

Clothing

31

342

342

Rent

4

500

64

Drinks

31

334

334

Relations

6

3 892

753

Repayment of loan

4

264

34

TOTAL

-

-

6 296

* 1 US$ = N85

Expenditures on food are the highest, ranging from N1,320 to N11,200 per month. Second is expenditure on relations, in most cases mothers. Nineteen (19) percent of the women interviewed spend money on relations. The amounts spent vary from N500 to N6,600 with an average of N3,892, resulting in a sample average of N753.

Forty-two (42) percent of the women interviewed bear the cost of education of their children, consisting of school fees and books. In the other cases, women do not have school-going children or it is their husbands who pay school fees and books. The amount spent varies from N250 to N 1,120. Pocket money, which is given to school-going children to spend by themselves, is mostly on women's account and is provided for by 68% of the women interviewed This amount ranges from N80 to N 1,600 per month, with an average of N608, resulting in a sample - average of N412.

All women spend money on drinks. Apart from soft drinks, a considerable amount of money is spent on alcoholic drinks, such as beer and illicit gin (locally called "ogogoro", "akpeteshe" or "kiki"). The amount spent ranges from N 120 to N660, with an average of N334

5.3 Working capital

Women have to finance the variable cost of their activities or reserve money as working capital The amount of working capital needed varies per combination of activities The average monthly working capital needed for women's activities is given in Table 5 To show the importance of this part of women's expenses, especially in fishing and/or processing and marketing, and thus its impact on managing daily money affairs, the variable cost of each combination of women's activities are expressed as a percentage of the total sales (see Table 10)

Table 10 Average monthly variable costs of women's activities in percentages of total sales

 

Average Monthly Variable Costs (in N*)

Monthly Variable Costs/Total Sales (%)

Fishing - Processing - Marketing

gillnet + hook and line

126 631

46

conical trap (crayfish)

1 850

12

Fishing - Marketing

periwinkle picking

0

0

"bicycle wheels" (crab)

40

0.3

Processing - Marketing

fish

60 371

89

crayfish

553

89

periwinkle

400

60

* 1 US$ = N 85

5.4 Financing and investment in fisheries activities

Apart from household expenses and working capital, women have several strategies to finance or invest in other people's fishing activities. The main objective of these arrangements is to guarantee the supply of fish under favourable conditions Therefore, the return is always in kind Their most important strategies are (a) the supply of fishing equipment and materials, (b) family arrangements, (c) money lending, and (d) the provision of fuel.

Supply of fishing equipment and materials

In Ogheye, many fishing units operated by men rely on the supply of fishing equipment and materials by women. Depending on the needs of the fisherman that operates the unit, women supply either a whole fishing unit (a canoe, fishing gear, and an engine) or they supply only the gear or the engine It must be noted that the equipment and materials remain hers. Everytime the fisherman lands his catch, she will be at the landing site to collect her share. Two out of 3 women in the sample owning one or more 9-planked canoes, gillnet(s) and engine(s) have such arrangements with fishermen.

When a woman supplies a whole fishing unit, she gets 2/3 Of the catch. The remaining 1/3 is allocated to the crew of 2-3 people Apart from her own share she has priority to buy the share allocated to the crew. When she supplies only the gear or the engine, she receives 1/a of the catch while 1/3 is allocated to the owner of the canoe and 1/3 to the crew. She also has priority to buy the remaining shares.

Family arrangements

Family arrangements usually start very simply. A man owns a fishing unit (gillnet or active stow net), goes out fishing, and sells his catch on credit to his wife. Payment takes place as soon as his wife sells the fish, either fresh or dry. Men provide a family ration of fish plus some supplements in cash or in kind, depending on their cultural background. The money women earn by selling the fish is theirs. They usually spend part of it to complement household needs for food

When fishermen need to replace their equipment or materials, they first turn to their wife. According to the women interviewed, men cannot save money. Most of them are polygamous and they prefer to spend their money on mistresses, drinks, etc. Women will usually agree to bear the cost of replacement of equipment, as long as they are entitled to buy the whole catch In this case men are not expected to repay This brings their activities close to a family enterprise which is very common among the Ilaje.

When a fisherman marries a second wife, the first wife refuses to finance her husband's activities. As already described, fish landed is sold to the fisherman's wife If there is more than one wife, the catch has to be shared, which makes the first wife reluctant to continue investing in her husband's fishing activities Not only because it makes her investment less profitable but also because a second or even third wife will benefit from her efforts without putting in any themselves On the other hand, second or third wives will never finance their husband's fishing activities because the larger part of the catch always goes to the first wife As a result, both the first wife and the second or third wife will prefer to invest their money in other men's fishing activities by supplying them fishing equipment and materials under conditions as described above.

Finally, it must be noted that such a family arrangement does not limit women to the catch of their husbands. They can buy from or invest in other fishermen's operations, unlike the fishermen who are always "obliged" to sell their whole catch to their wives

Moneylending

If fishermen are not able to finance their activities and cannot rely on family arrangements, they might decide to borrow money, mostly from women. Thirty (30) percent of the women involved in fish processing and marketing offered this service at the time of the survey, requesting for repayment in fish From the moment she lends out the money, she sets the price of the fish her debtor lands until the loan is recovered. She will not charge interest, but the price she sets is generally low, enabling her to make large profits.

In addition, by setting a low price she ties up the fisherman who, over a long period of time, is obliged to "sell" his catch to her without collecting any money in return Although she might let him keep some fish for his family and to pay his crew, a fisherman in this position is financially vulnerable During this period, when the fisherman needs financial assistance, she will willingly give another line of credit/loan to continue the supply of fish to her.

Provision of fuel

The provision of fuel mostly concerns the purchase of trawler by-catch. At the time of the survey, almost 50% of the fish processors interviewed relied on trawler by-catch. Since most women generally lack money to pay for the quantity of fish they need in advance, 5 or 6 of them put money together to provide the trader with fuel in addition to an advance If the trawler is not too far, the fuel will guarantee them the supply of fish for about two weeks The provision of fuel allows women to buy at least part of the fish on credit. Full payment takes place after the fish has been smoked and sold.

5.5 Savings and contributions

Finally, women spend a considerable amount of money on savings and contributions of different kinds Most savings are made with osusu groups or "thrift collectors" and contributions are made to societies, family ceremonies and churches.

Osusu groups are rotating savings and credit associations Osusu groups joined by women in the sample have 10-22 members. They meet daily, weekly or monthly to contribute a certain amount of money. By turn, each members receives the sum saved for a given period. When the cycle is complete, they start all over again. A "thrift collectors" can best be compared to a mobile banker. He (most `'thrift collectors" are men) passes daily, weekly or monthly, depending on the arrangement, to collect an agreed amount of savings. Records of the amount deposited are kept Women can retrieve their money anytime they want. Depending on their mode of savings, women owe their thrift collector a part of the amount of money saved. Women who save daily owe him one day's savings every eighth day, and for weekly savings, women owe 1/7 of their savings per week. Women making monthly deposits have individual arrangements, depending on the term and the amount of money deposited.

The main objective of societies is to provide social, financial and moral support to its members In Ogheye, three types of societies can be distinguished: age groups, meeting groups, and elitist groups Age groups consist of women of the same age. These can also be sub-groups of societies. Meeting groups consist of women sharing common goals or characteristics The Eghoroke Better Life Society (section 2.3) is an example. The "high status women" are members of more elitist groups. In Ogheye, these are the big fish mammies. Their monthly contributions are significantly higher than those of the other societies. Societies are usually well organized All of them have an elected president, vice president, general secretary and treasurer. An agenda is prepared for every meeting.

Societies meet monthly in the house of one of the members. This is also the day that monthly contributions are collected. During these meetings, food and drinks are served and often there is music or another kind of entertainment The expenses are paid by the society (out of the monthly contributions of the members), and the role of hostess rotates. One of the most important points of the agenda is to review activities of members, social and professional For professional matters, the society disburses loans from the society fund. In the case of marriage, birth or death in a family, the society pays a fixed sum, depending on the event In this respect, a society serves

as an insurance agency Furthermore, decide on how to provide moral assistance, which is being present at the event and whenever the need arises. For these occasions, society members often wear specially designed clothes, depending on the society's funding capacity.

All women contribute to family ceremonies This can be marriage, birth, death, etc. Depending on their position in the family, women are expected to contribute a certain amount of money Apart from that there might be a special dress that is to be worn during the ceremony, and they have to buy the material and pay for the sewing.

Finally, some women contribute to church. There are several contributions, church societies, offerings, tight and goodwilling. Contrary to the other types of savings and contributions, contribution to churches does not have a clearly defined economic or financial purpose. According to the women interviewed, they contribute to church to fulfil their religious obligations and thus to be righteous and good Christians, to ensure their souls to go to heaven, and to have a good Christian burrial when they die.

Table 11 gives an overview of average monthly contributions and savings of the women. Since not all women save or contribute to the institutions described above, a distinction is made between the sample average and the average among women contributing.

Table 11 Average monthly contributions and savings (in N*)

 

Society

Family Ceremonies

Osusu

Church

TOTAL

Number of women contributing (NWC)

17

31

21

13

-

Total Amount Contributed (TAC)

9 331

17 213

42 500

3 400

66 590

TAC/NWC

549

555

2 024

262

-

Average Contribution per Woman in Sample

301

555

1 371

110

2 290

* 1 US$ = N 85

The highest amount is reserved for savings. Sixty-eight (68) percent of the women in the sample save with an osusu group or "thrift collector". Amounts saved vary from N 100 to N7,000 per month with an average of N2,024. Apart from saving with an osusu group or "thrift collector", capital accumulation takes place by investing in fishing equipment and materials, saving money in the house or by converting money into juwellery (gold), coral beads, wrappers (Dutch wax), and other items that do not lose value However, these items are hardly converted back into cash money Women rather use them as gifts or as social payments, for example, as gift to their daughters when they get married.

Second are contributions to societies and family ceremonies, although part of the contributions to societies are indirectly spent on ceremonies. Societies only contribute to ceremonies in which their members are expected to bear a considerable part of the responsibility and costs All women spend on family ceremonies and more than half of the sample contribute to societies. Contributions to family ceremonies vary from N100 to N1,600 per month with an average of N555 Contributions to societies range between N200 and N1,700 per month with an average of N549 resulting in a sample average of N301.

Contributions to church represent the smallest part of women's contributions, less than half of the women contribute to churches The average contribution is N262 per month, resulting in a sample average of N110.

5.6 Remarks

In order to assess the total monthly amount of money that is at the women's disposal (women's cash flow), depreciation costs, average additional income (revenues from additional sources of income, credit, and contributions from their husband) have been added to women's monthly net revenue from fishing and fishing-related activities. The figures are given in Table 12.

Table 12 Women's monthly cash flow (in N*)

 

Monthly Net Revenue

Monthly Depreciation

Average Additional Income

Cash Flow

Average Monthly Expenses, Contributions and Savings**

Fishing - Processing - Marketing

gillnet + hook and line

143 995

6 031

2 333

2 359 15

8 586

conical trap (crayfish)

12039

1 541

2333

15 913

8 586

Fishing - Marketing

periwinkle picking

12 158

42

2 333

14 533

8 586

"bicycle wheels" (crab)

15 364

56

2 333

17 753

8 586

Processing - Marketing

fish

12 217

1 166

2 333

15 716

8 586

crayfish

28 281

1 166

2 333

31 780

8 586

periwinkle

4 225

42

2 333

6 600

8 586

* 1 US$ = N 85

** Excluding the cost of financing and investment in other people's fishing activities

The monthly cash flow varies from N6,600 for women processing and marketing periwinkle to N152,359 for women involved in gillnet + hook and line fishing, processing and marketing Since household expenses and contributions to societies do not differ very much between the categories of women, one average is taken to calculate women's expenses According to the table presented above, during the month of the study most women have had more money at their disposal than what they have spent, contributed, or saved.

However, no figures are available on the cost of financing and investing in other people's activities. While the benefits of financing and investment are included in the monthly net revenue of women, the cost is not This explains at least part of the difference between women's net revenues and their expenses and contributions.

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