MSSRF’s Fisher Friend Mobile Application model gets a boost
MoU is signed with Srikakulam District Administration to promote FFMA and post-harvesting technologies
The MSSRF Fish for All Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with District Administration of Srikakulam district to promote Srikakulam district as a ‘model district’ of the Fisher Friend Mobile Application (FFMA) and post-harvesting technologies. The MoU was exchanged between Dr G.N. Hariharan, Executive Director – MSSRF, Thiru Duvvada Sreenivas, District Collector – Srikakulam district, and Dr Nethaji Director – ACE, on June 17, 2022 in the presence of Dr Seedhiri Appala Raju, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Andhra Pradesh, Thiru Narasannapeta, former Deputy Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh, and other senior officials, political leaders, MLAs, fisheries officers, and fisher-folk of Srikakulam.
Srikakulam district is one of the largest coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh state with 100 per cent small-scale fishers. There are approximately 50,000 active fishers, and 1.5 lakh fishers depend entirely on marine resources for their livelihood. The fishing community use traditional methods, and most of them are below the poverty line. They have to catch fish within 20-km from the coast, and this restricts their socio-economic status. The community is also more vulnerable to natural disasters and other climate-related risks.
Women are actively involved in post-harvesting and domestic marketing. Srikakulam district has good scope for fish production and exports, however, there is a lack of infrastructural amenities to expand fishing and marketing. This situation forces several fishers into financial struggles, and they prefer to migrate to Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to earn their living.
Seeking solutions for issues faced by fishers, the department of fisheries invited MSSRF to study ground realities. Led by Dr Velvizhi, Head of the Fish for All Centre, the MSSRF team visited several coastal villages in Srikakulam. The team met with more than 500 fishing community members and also conducted need-based assessments with men, women, and youth to gain insight.
Based on such assessment, a follow-up discussion was organized and a collective decision was taken to initiate the implementation of MSSRF’s Fisher Friend Mobile Application in Srikakulam by partnership with the district administration and local NGO. The joint action will be a science-based, community-centered and process-oriented to enhance the livelihood of small-scale fishers in the district.
Main objectives of the MoU:
To promote Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh as a ‘model district’ of the FFMA programme with the aim to expand Fisher Friend Mobile services to all fishers in the district. FFMA was developed by MSSRF and Qualcomm in collaboration with Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS),Government of India,
To strengthen ocean communication through disseminating information received from INCOIS among fishers through FFMA as a tool, ensuring safety and security of small-scale fishers.
To pilot suitable livelihood models through appropriate post-harvesting technologies and innovations for fisherwomen in selected fishing villages so as to improve their economic and social status.
To impart skill-based training programme for the fishermen in order to reduce risks and enhance their knowledge on sea safety and sustainable fishing.
Under the MoU, MSSRF will share knowledge, technology and modern techniques in fishing with local fishermen and fisherwomen in Srikakulam district.20 master trainers will be selected from major fishing villages of Srikakulam, and capacity training provided at the MSSRF Fish for All Research and Training Centre, Poompuhar, on FFMA utility, identifying fishing zones, also new fishing and post harvesting technologies.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.