ABALOBI: Demonstrating and exploring ICT solutions for small-scale fisheries in Uganda

ABALOBI: Demonstrating and exploring ICT solutions for small-scale fisheries in Uganda

Written by Volker Koch, Blue Solutions Initiative

From South Africa to Uganda: ABALOBI, a South African app suite for small-scale fishers’ business management, is being introduced to stakeholders in the Nile perch fishery at Lake Victoria to explore Innovative Communication Technologies (ICT) for fisheries solutions during a workshop.

© Abalobi

Serge Raemakers and Andrew Cahood from ABALOBI developed a smartphone app suite for small-scale fishers in the Cape Region of South Africa. ABALOBI provides a system that enables reliable catch data collection, sound monitoring, transparency and traceability of small-scale fisheries related data, and empowers small-scale fishers to take an active part in fisheries governance, management and in the market. Two GIZ-projects teamed up to make this workshop possible, the Responsible Fisheries Business Chain Project (RFBCP) that forms part of the SEWOH global programme on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Blue Solutions.

The exchange took place on the shores of Lake Victoria. During the first two days (19th-20th March) we visited different landing sites around Kampala and Jinja, where we witnessed how Nile perch is landed and prepared for further processing.

© Volker Koch

Serge and Andrew introduced the app suite and its main functions and benefits to fishermen, processors, traders and fish traders. At the same time, the app developers learned how the local fishery and the Nile perch value chain works.

© Volker Koch

In the Lake Victoria region, fishermen immediately recognized the app’s name, because hook and line fishers are called “abalobi” in Luganda. Originally, the app  was named by South African fishers. “Abalobi” in isiXhosa means small-scale fisher. Both African languages have Bantu origins, which explains the similarities of meanings.


© Volker Koch

The workshop itself took place from 21st to 22nd of March on the premises of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), with about 40 participants representing fishermen, boat owners, traders, processors, fisheries scientists and managers. After a formal opening by Geoffrey Monor, the Executive Secretary of the LVFO, and Adi Gerstl, the project leader from the GIZ, Serge and Andrew explained what ABALOBI does and how it may benefit fishermen and stakeholders working in the Nile perch value chain around Lake Victoria. It was a very productive and interactive day, with plenty of critical input, discussions, and a lot of very positive feedback.


© Maria Winkler

© Volker Koch

On day 2, the participants mapped out the business chain of the Nile perch fishery and discussed how ABALOBI could be adapted to the Ugandan context. Finally, next steps, timeline and responsibilities were discussed. The participants will feed the results of the workshop back to their fisher associations or institutions.

After Easter, interested parties will formalize their willingness to proceed and start a pilot with ABALOBI in the coming months. The staff from the Responsible Fisheries Business Chain project with the LVFO did an amazing job to bring together a very diverse group of stakeholders to this workshop. Serge and Andrew from ABALOBI were excellent in conveying the usefulness and advantages of the app suite to the local stakeholders.


© Volker Koch

We keep our fingers crossed to see how ABALOBI will be implemented in the Lake Victoria Nile perch fishery!