Aquaconnect: An application for sustainable aquaculture
Many small shrimp producers in India depend on this activity to make a living. The equation is simple: If they sell their product, they can live; otherwise, the whole family is left in a vulnerable situation. And the latter is what happened after the first COVID-19 outbreaks. The main buyers from abroad stopped buying shrimp, local markets in India closed their doors and the new restrictions meant, for many, the end of their business.
This is what we mean when we talk about the need of improving the resilience of our food systems. We are talking about optimising resources, obtaining food in a sustainable way and ensuring that no family ends up on the streets due to a sudden change in the market. What can we do? The necessary change inevitably involves adjusting production techniques; and another part of the transformation consists of improving the supply chain, reducing dependence on foreign purchases so that each family has a certain margin of manoeuvre when a critical situation occurs. And in this search, technology can be a great ally.
A valuable initiative that is becoming important in India is the Aquaconnect app, a great support for shrimp and prawn producers. Designed by Rajamanohar Somasundaram, the application is one of the winners of the ORIGIN Innovation Awards in the category “Technology applied to food and agriculture”. But it is more than an application, it is a way to help small producers, to give them more autonomy and certainty.
An application that changes lives
Through artificial intelligence and satellite remote sensors offered by Aquaconnect, small prawn and shrimp producers improve their productivity and optimise the supply chain, improving estimates and reducing speculation around their sales. In addition, the app provides up-to-date information on ways to maintain the biosafety of the production (for example, how to regulate the pH of the water), recommendations for feeding the animals appropriately and sustainably, advice on pond preparation and data on the selection of the final product, among other things.
For smaller producers, access to Aquaconnect means much more than having key information at their fingertips. In addition to helping them run their business and improve their quality of life, this tool gives them more autonomy and facilitates making better decisions. Thanks to the app, the producers do not permanently depend on specialised technicians to carry out daily operations and can connect with other shrimp and fish producers to share practices and experiences.
There are already more than 20,000 users who use the application and who, through it, also have the possibility of obtaining the support of certifying bodies and other institutions that provide financial assistance to cope with hard times or to carry out new projects.
“Aquaconnect will accelerate the adoption of technology by farmers and promote the sustainable growth of the seafood industry,” says its creator. The technology applied to the efficiency of food production makes it possible for the components of the production chain to be strong enough to withstand small incidents, this way gaining strength and resilience. Risks exist … and will always do, the challenge is to minimize them as much as possible and have an infrastructure that does not leave anyone out.