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“The FFMA app has been a game-changer for us,” asserts Pralaya Kaveri Babu Rao, Head of Pothuru Village. “It not only safeguards our assets but also enhances our efficiency and fishing opportunities.”

For the fishermen along the Nellore coast of Andhra Pradesh, each day presents a daunting challenge. With the ever-looming threats of unpredictable weather, perilous ocean conditions, and dwindling incomes, their livelihoods hang in the balance. However, amidst the uncertainty, a beacon of hope emerges in the form of the Fisher Friend Mobile Application (FFMA).

The fishing community in Nellore grapples with a multitude of obstacles, from fluctuating fish stocks to the specter of natural disasters like tsunamis and cyclones. Limited access to real-time information on fish shoals, weather patterns, and navigational hazards exacerbates their plight, leaving them vulnerable and uncertain about their future.

Nellore is usually the most effected district in Andhra when emergencies strike such as- Ocean tsunamis, cyclones and floods. Smartpur centres are providing Governance, Education, Financial inclusion, livelihood and health related services in 60 villages of Nellore, where 35% of community people are fishers. Apart from fishing and fish wending, agriculture work and daily wage work are secondary and tertiary livelihood source. Getting regular work in Agriculture farms is difficult due to the presence of middle-men hiring the labour force. Majority of the HHs in this village belong to the marginalized communities.

“After the tsunami of 2004, our harvest dwindled to a mere fraction of what it once was,” laments Chinni Rangayya, a seasoned fisherman. “The movement of fish became erratic, and we struggled to adapt.”

In a groundbreaking initiative, the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) introduced the FFMA app, revolutionizing the way Nellore’s fishermen operate. With features like real-time updates on fish shoals, weather forecasts, and GPS navigation, the app empowers fishermen with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the treacherous waters with confidence.

The impact of the FFMA app on Nellore’s fishermen has been nothing short of remarkable. Through periodical follow-ups and needs assessments, it became evident that fishermen utilizing the app experienced significant benefits. By leveraging real-time data and advisories, they were able to optimize their fishing operations, reduce diesel consumption, and maximize their catch.

“Thanks to the FFMA app, we now make informed decisions about how much diesel to take on fishing trips,” explains K. Sreenivasulu, a local fisherman from Govindapallipalem. “The GPS training provided by MSSRF has equipped us with the skills to navigate safely and efficiently.”

As the FFMA app continues to empower Nellore’s fishermen, there is newfound optimism for the future. With enhanced access to critical information and resources, fishermen can adapt to changing conditions, mitigate risks, and secure their livelihoods for generations to come.

“This app has become an indispensable tool for us,” affirms K. Sreenivasulu. “With its help, we not only navigate the seas but also navigate towards a brighter future.”

In coordination with State Skill Development Corporation and fishing skill building institution and Fisheries department, fisheries collage and MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Smartpur centres at 30 locations are introducing, handholding and following up on quality of App services.

The FFMA app stands as a testament to the transformative power of technology in uplifting vulnerable communities. By bridging the gap between traditional knowledge and modern innovation, it empowers Nellore’s fishermen to navigate the complexities of their profession with resilience and confidence, ensuring a sustainable future for themselves and their families.

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