Using ICT for fish marketing: the EFMIS model in Kenya
Small-scale fisheries in developing countries often perform sub-optimally owing to lack of vital market information, leading to inefficiencies, inequity, and post-harvest losses. The mobile phone, which is the fastest growing communications media in Africa, may be most suited for addressing market information gaps. The Enhanced Fish Market Information Service (EFMIS), an ICT pilot project based on mobile phones, has been implemented in Kenya's Lake Victoria fisheries for 3 years. The objective of the project is to enhance fish trade and incomes for the fisher community through improved access to market information. Through the system, data from fish landing sites and inland urban markets is continuously relayed to a central database where it is appropriately packaged into a format that users can access in real time by sending a query through mobile phone SMS. The system is automated and responds within 10 seconds. Market information is also disseminated through monthly electronic bulletins. The EFMIS model offers the potential to be adapted for application in other small-scale fisheries, drawing lessons learnt from this pilot.