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Add To Calendar 28/04/2016 14:10:0028/04/2016 14:30:00Africa/JohannesburgAsian-Pacific Aquaculture 2016IMPLEMENTING MOBILE MARKETING AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR FISH FARMERS: UGANDA GROWER EXPERIENCES AND ASPIRATIONS   Diamond 2The World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

IMPLEMENTING MOBILE MARKETING AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR FISH FARMERS: UGANDA GROWER EXPERIENCES AND ASPIRATIONS  

Joseph Molnar*. M. Matuha*, G. Atukunda, J. Walakira, J. Terhune, J. Bukenya, S. Naigaga
 
AquaFish Innovation Lab Uganda-Kenya Project
Department of Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology
International Center for Aquaculture & Aquatic Environments
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849-5406  
molnajj@auburn.edu

Improving fish culture productivity is one of the most pressing issues for African aquaculture. The widespread availability of mobile phones and improving coverage over wide areas position the technology as a necessary component of sustainable improvements in farm practice. Coupled with corresponding innovation in existing social and institutional arrangements, mobile phones have the potential to make significant contributions to increase income for small-scale fish farmers. As mobile phones converge with other mobile devices such as netbooks and tablets, the opportunities proliferate. Affordability will remain an issue, but cell phone capability and market penetration grow. Old style extension approaches must be supplanted (or at least supplemented) by mechanisms that provide for widespread dissemination of technical information to stimulate and support the adoption of productivity increasing practices. Technical guidance, product assembly, and price discovery are but three of the many fundamental applications of cell phones in aquaculture. Fishers and farmers use cell phones to get market prices to know where to sell products. Fish farmers use them for extension support and to arrange for feed and seed.

The presentation considers the process of implementing cell-based marketing, input supply, and technical support services for fish farmers in Uganda. Baseline information about the needs and interests of fish farmers was developed through focused group interviews conducted in five Uganda districts: Masaka, Mukono, Mpigi, Bushenyi and Kalungu in May, June, July and August 2014.  Data were obtained from 48 Ugandan fish farmers (14 women).  The main findings reveal that cell phone use is common among fish farmers, but that intermediary farmers play an important role in connecting producers to markets and suppliers. Sustainable systems will feature a business model that recovers covers costs in a minimal way, while responding to farmer needs and interests in a flexible way. Public agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and cellular service providers must work together to advance the use of cell phones guide, coordinate, and instruct fish farmers. Public agencies will be challenged to provide timely and technically correct information to producers.

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