Belize fishers cooperative closes RFP for traceability system
The National Fishermen Producers' Cooperative Society of Belize (NFC) recently closed a request for proposals from vendors of traceability technology.
The RFP was launched in search of technology solutions that would assist the NFC in product-data pairing, internal traceability, and verification. The NFC, in its RFP document, explains that these objectives would in turn aid in achieving the wider goal of greater operational efficiency and market access.
“The effort to implement traceability will coincide with marketing efforts and development of new buyer relationships,” the document states.
At the same time, it is hoped that the introduction of traceability systems will support the Belize Fisheries Department in development of its managed access, rights-based fisheries.
The system “will support the NFC vision for a data-rich fishery that supports effective co-management and preservation of stocks, and that enables their ability to capture greater value for their queen conch, spiny lobster, and other products,” the call for RFPs said.
The NFC is the second-largest fishers cooperative in Belize, with a membership of 250 active and 270 inactive fishers. These members own the cooperative's assets, which are managed by a board of directors elected by the members.
According to the RFP, the members harvest just over 200,000 pounds (91 metric tons) of lobster tails and about 150,000 pounds (68 MT) of conch annually. The NFC's annual gross income in 2016 was just under BZD 10.5 million (USD 5.2 million, EUR 4.2 million).
The NFC has a strong commitment to quality, the document notes, and the introduction of traceability technology systems will further enhance this. The budget for the project is BZD 40,000 to 80,000 (USD 20,000 to 40,000, EUR 16,000 to 32,000) with the project's success being measured by attainment of technical, co-management, and value-generation goals.
The technical goals for the new system include easy integration with the Belize Fisheries Department's information services that would allow for the sharing of data via web services.
“In addition to the technical requirements already identified, co-management will require the ability to easily integrate/share data among new parties and technology systems (e.g. via future web service integrations), and to provide tailored access to information, potentially including support for anonymizing or aggregating data,” the report said.
It is hoped the proposed systems will generate value through “access to premium markets, price premiums, and new revenue streams.”