Live Fish Value Chain Management Technology

About Solution

The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in 2014 stressed the importance of aquaculture in eradicating malnutrition and improving food systems. Despite per capita fish consumption increasing from 9.9 kg in 1960 to 20 kg today, 780 million people globally are still malnutritioned. 35% of all fish produced globally is wasted, which can meet protein requirements of 39 million people. In India, which is the world’s second largest producer of fish after China, $2.3 billion of fish is wasted annually. The SDGs were adopted in view of the challenges faced to feed 9 billion people sustainably and equitably, and such massive wastages are counter-productive to that cause. However, most consumer interest in developing markets is focussed on live, fresh and chilled produce, which makes up 90% of consumer sales in South Asia. This preference, especially in tropical countries, leads to huge wastages and health scares due to spraying of dangerous preservatives like formaldehyde on iced fish to make it look fresh in the absence of proper cold storage and consumers’ aversion to frozen produce.


Local fisheries also play an important role globally in combating poverty. 56 million people in the world are involved in the fish sector, of which half are women. 84% of them are working in Asia, mostly involved in small-scale aquaculture. Small local farmers suffer from lack of market connect and post-harvest facilities, leading to distress sales, post harvest wastages and depressed farm-gate prices. On an average, in India 5-9 intermediaries are involved in bringing the fish to market, with farmers often getting less than 50% of the final price of the produce. Thus, the entire supply chain from farm-gate to consumer is broken, with depressed farmer incomes, massive post harvest losses, and limited supply of high quality, fresh produce for consumers.


The problem can be solved by creating an IoT-enabled Live Fish Value Chain Management Technology (VCMT) that can be used by farmers and operators to source, transport, store and retail live freshwater fish to consumers in developing countries. This would completely eliminate post-harvest losses and provide farmers direct access to markets by using low cost, hi-tech customized vehicles and zero water discharge storage systems that can keep fish live and healthy till point-of-sale. The theory of change would be as follows –

  1. Design – a low-cost, technically robust system that can be customized according to the production capacity and investment capability of farmers

  2. Demonstrate – ZooFresh Foods will operate the first Live Fish VCMT pilot in some of the poorest parts of the world (KBK districts of Odisha, India), creating a sourcing network of local small-scale fish farmers and rural distributors.

  3. Distribute – create distribution channels across South Asia for the technology via farmer cooperatives, govt. livelihood programs, fish marketing bodies etc.


The primary beneficiaries of the technology will be small-scale farmers, farmer groups and cooperatives, govt. marketing agencies and federations, non-profits etc who intend to directly access local consumer markets around the farms and eliminate intermediaries. This technology can also be purchased / leased by fish suppliers and retailers who wish to source from local farmers and diversify into live fish sales. Fish consumers shall benefit greatly due to prevention of health scares and assurance of freshness of fish.


Live Fish VCMT is an integrated, holistic, innovative solution with the following expected outcomes -

  1. Eliminate wastages entirely from the fish supply chain by ensuring liveability of fish from farm-gate to point-of-sale. This elimination of wastages will improve fish quality, increase supply, ensure affordability, and improve the nutritional profile of poor communities

  2. Increase farmer incomes 5-6 times – Live fish commands a premium in the market due to its superior taste and health benefits. Using Live Fish VCMT will give small-scale local farmers direct access to markets, eliminating intermediaries and thereby increasing farmer incomes through high price realizations and elimination of post harvest losses. It will also provide a competitive advantage to small farmers over distant large scale producers since live fish can be sourced only within a 150-200 kms radius

  3. Ensure consumer health and nutritional sufficiency – Consumers will get the ultimate proof of freshness – Live Fish – sourced from local farmers. This fish will be preservative free, and freshly culled and cleaned in the presence of the consumer. Live fish hawker vehicles will penetrate into rural areas, ensuring accessibility of the product to remote communities.

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