A new agreement with ACI Agribusiness, a leading aggregator of agri inputs in Bangladesh, will provide timely and affordable access to digital advisory services to small-scale fish farmers and their local service providers.
ACI Agribusiness and WorldFish, as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems and through the USAID-funded Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity, will jointly develop Rupali, a digital platform.
The digital platform will be helpful to retailers and dealers of feed, aqua chemicals and pond mechanization equipment, hatchery owners, fish wholesalers, officials and researchers of government and non-governmental extension services.
For fish farmers, it will assist in all aspects of aquaculture from stock planning to taking the end-product to the market. It is expected to enable fish farmers to increase their productivity and generate more income by following the platform’s advice. The target is to have 7,500 users in the first year and 45,000 or more in the second year.
Making aquaculture more responsive to consumer needs
“Access to information is extremely important for fish farmers and all other actors in the aquaculture value chain,” says Malcolm Dickson, Country Director Bangladesh, WorldFish (pictured). “Rupali should help the sector to become more efficient and responsive to the needs of Bangladeshi consumers, while ensuring the financial sustainability of both small-scale and larger scale operators.”
Users will be able to access Rupali, which is due to be launched in the second half of 2019, via a mobile app, website, SMS, outbound and inbound call center.
ACI Agribusiness will initially implement Rupali in five districts in south-west Bangladesh—Bagerhat, Khulna, Gopalganj, Satkhira and Jessore—the first three of which have productivity below the national average. WorldFish will provide management, monitoring and evaluation support as well as transfer aquaculture-related global best practices. ACI Agribusiness and Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity are co-financing the digital platform.
Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity is a five-year, USD 24.5 million investment that builds on the achievements of the Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition project. The goal is to achieve inclusive aquaculture sector growth through a market systems approach. Specific objectives include increased productivity of aquaculture systems, strengthened aquaculture market systems, with special attention paid to expanding opportunities for women and youth, and increased awareness and adoption of nutrition-related behavior.