An innovative way to save crayfish ...and a community

ABALOBI, a fisher-driven social enterprise, employs technology to disrupt the dynamics of the value and supply chain of local small-scale fisheries.

Clayton Christensen published his last book in 2019, sadly just a few months before he passed away.

The Prosperity Paradox is a fascinating read in which he posits that above all other interventions, innovation is the best way to lift people out of poverty.

Further, if innovation can give people access to markets and the ability to earn an income where before there were only barriers, that's where you really make a sustainable difference to the long-term future of communities and nations.

For decades communities on the South Africa West Coast have suffered under the scourge of poaching and gangsterism. Small scale fishers in small towns are barely able to survive on the meagre income they generate.

But now a tech innovation called Abalobi is destined to change all of that.

'ABALOBI, a fisher-driven social enterprise based in Cape Town, employs technology to disrupt the dynamics of the value and supply chain of local small-scale fisheries. Through a series of connected apps, it ensures traceability by linking fishers directly to the marketplace selling their specific basket of species at a fair and transparent price.'

This is an excellent example of exactly the kind of innovation Christensen was highlighting in his book.

The concept of ABALOBI was born out of brainstorming sessions between the University of Cape Town researchers, the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and several small-scale fisher community representatives, following discussions on implementation of the Small Scale Fisheries Policy and United Nations FAO Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.

When public / private partnerships have the right intentions it's remarkable as to what can be achieve. This is certainly a story to keep in eye on in the future.

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The economic downturn resulting from Covid-19 has been devastating for many fishing communities reliant on export markets. Yet, it is possible to unlock new beginnings for small-scale fishers by linking them to a fair and transparent marketplace, a pilot project shows.