The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lock-down had created chaos across the world and among others highlighted the importance of food security, sovereignty and accessibility. As in other countries, Malaysia experienced disruption in our domestic food supply chains, affecting both producers and consumers. Fishers were adversely affected as they could not sell their catch because middlemen were no longer buying their landed catch due to decreasing demand as many outlets were closed. This not only impacted fishers livelihood as they were not going to sea but also fish supply which subsequently increased the price of fish sold in the market and hence affecting protein intake of consumers, especially the poor.

SAM and the fisher network that we work with offered a new delivery system in the fish supply chain, i.e. “from fisher to consumer” which bypassed the traditional role of middlemen, wholesalers and retailers. This system involved a pool of fishers selling their catch directly to consumers on cash on delivery (COD) basis by promoting their marketing system through social media and word of mouth. The pilot project which started with three fishers in three states has now expanded with more fisher communities replicating this new delivery system and even getting pre-orders.

This new delivery system promises fishers better price for their catch and consumers getting fresher, cheaper fish at their doorsteps as we have bypassed the multi-tiered supply chain which raises food prices. It also generated income for women as they become dispatchers and have also embarked on producing value-added products for example cleaning the fish, making salted fish, fish stuffing or collecting shellfish from the mangrove forests.

Together with the community we have built an alternative recovery plan by providing a new delivery system which generated and improved the livelihood of fisher communities, promoted local food security and reduced household expenditure for consumers in these trying times. 

For more information contact:
Mageswari Sangaralingam,
Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Honorary Secretary
magesling@gmail.com