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Q&A with SALT's small grant recipient: MDPIOctober 28, 2020
Meet one of SALT’s small grant recipients, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI)! SALT recently initiated a small grants program to catalyze work towards SALT’s objectives, and expand our learning opportunities in the field of electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT). This program supports international projects that address the challenges of implementing eCDT around the world. MDPI builds networks and partnerships with various organizations, such as national and international universities, governments, development agencies, NGOs, and industry to support the development of the fishing communities and supply chains in Indonesia. We checked in with their team to hear a bit more about their exciting traceability work.
SALT: Can you tell us about your organization?
MDPI: Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) is an Indonesian-based NGO focused on achieving responsible and sustainable fisheries for the well-being of communities. By coupling market driven interventions with traceability applications and capacity development activities, MDPI supports fisheries in maintaining valuable market access. MDPI works primarily with small-scale fisheries by empowering fishing communities. We have more than 7 years’ experience in assisting in the implementation of both manual and electronic-based traceability in fisheries supply chains. In 2018, MDPI developed TraceTales©, an internal traceability system used at the processor-level. The system enables small-scale fishery operations to verify they are complying with internationally required sustainability practices.
SALT: Who is involved in the project with SALT and what drives them about this project?
MDPI: Our team for this workshop includes Stephani Mangunsong, Teguh Prawira, Karen Villeda, as well as, various MDPI programmers.
Stephani brings over a decade of experience in seafood technology, quality assurance, and trade. With deep expertise in seafood processing, international export/import standards, and supply chain compliance, Stephani co-founded the TraceTales traceability software which is currently being used by dozens of seafood processing plants. She formally oversaw the development and implementation of traceability based technologies (TBT), food safety, and quality applications to ensure traceability and quality improvement at MDPI. Passionate about increased compliance, traceability, and efficiency within supply chains, Stephani is an experienced trainer and workshop developer on topics that support industry and government partners in increasing their capacity in regards to supply chains. Stephani holds a degree in Fish Processing Technology from Sekolah Tinggi Perikanan in Jakarta and is currently pursuing her Masters’ at the University of Arkansas. She will be leading workshop development and facilitation as an MDPI consultant.
Teguh has nearly a decade of experience conducting traceability-based technology (TBT) activities in artisanal fisheries. At MDPI, he leads uptake of Trafiz, a mobile application for small-scale fish suppliers and buyers that provides a first data entry point for seafood products originating from small-scale fishers. He is committed to supporting the bidirectional flow of information, helping to link fishers, processors, and exporters. Teguh holds a BA in Fishing Technology from Sekolah Tinggi Perikanan in Jakarta.
Karen recently joined MDPI as their Program Director and has spent the last year diving head first into the world of eCDT. With seven years’ of experience implementing fisheries management schemes across Southeast Asia and Latin America, a significant portion of her work now involves working alongside industry and government partners. At MDPI, she oversees programmatic activities, leading implementation of various traceability solutions aiming to connect the seafood supply chain in Indonesia. She is currently interested in how to better integrate “fintech” components into traceability apps to encourage their uptake, particularly for women fish sellers. She holds a Masters’ degree from the University of Washington.
SALT: What kind of activities will you be doing with SALT’s small grant support?
MDPI: Over the course of our small grant project, MDPI in partnership with the Directorate General of Strengthening Competitiveness of Marine and Fishery Products (PDSKP) at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, will conduct a collaboration and learning event for 40 seafood industry, tech providers, NGO, and government stakeholders in Jakarta to build on the momentum and outcomes of a previous workshop held in 2019. The workshop attendees will review and co-design pathways for increasing eCDT technologies, with the aim to refine and identify cost savings so industry and government alike are more likely to adopt these technologies sooner.
In MDPI’s experience, Indonesian industry stakeholders are often interested in the concept of electronic traceability, however few have fully implemented electronic traceability in their supply chains. We have seen this can be for a variety of reasons, such as high cost, lack of market request, and limited understanding of wider business benefits. However, we have industry experiences where electronic traceability systems have facilitated various voluntary certification requirements as well as business efficiencies. This success is due to a close collaboration and co-design of the traceability system and we aim to expand that co-design process to ensure electronic traceability compatibility with Indonesian industry stakeholders.
Through this activity, fishers, government officials, and NGOs will better understand each other’s data needs, and determine what information is required for sustainable fisheries management.
SALT: What are some challenges you may expect with this work?
MDPI: The largest challenge we presently anticipate, is our ability to conduct a truly interactive workshop, where participants will be able to bounce ideas off each other, due to national gathering restrictions under COVID-19. While we are taking all the necessary precautionary steps, it will require us to be selective in the number of participants physically present in the meeting room. Another key component of the workshop design, will be finding the right balance between technology experts (across stakeholders) to foster sharing and concept proofing with decision-makers that can ensure their organization/division can make necessary next-step commitments. This is a challenge we have learned from other partners that have attempted to conduct similar workshops in Indonesia, and one which we are conscientious about from the onset. In order to address this challenge, we will be co-designing this workshop with PDSKP, increasing the number of workshop participants (when compared to the 2019 workshop) and drawing lessons from a cadre of senior implementers across Indonesia that have worked on national-scale traceability initiatives (such as USAID Oceans).
SALT: What do you plan to achieve and how will it benefit seafood traceability efforts?
MDPI: We hope this workshop will:
- Strengthen stakeholder understanding surrounding the requirements, benefits, challenges and methods of achieving traceability
- Strengthen stakeholder collaboration and information sharing networks with the shared vision of achieving traceability
- Further identify and refine the requirements (in terms of cost, equipment, human capacity) for developing and connecting traceability systems in Indonesia for Indonesian stakeholders
MDPI hopes that the ideas fostered in this workshop will lead to increased interoperability of existing technology systems and take into consideration in the development and progress of eCDT systems globally. MDPI itself aims to take the information from this co-design workshop and integrate it into the research and development of the TraceTales system, including interoperability features of TraceTales and required adjustments (if any) in other technologies to achieve interoperability.
MDPI’s project really emphasizes getting the right people at the table to advance Indonesia’s system of traceability, and has the added difficulty of connecting people during COVID-19. Stay tuned for more updates from them! #TraceableTogether
It’s the ability of different information technology systems or software programs to communicate seamlessly for the purpose of exchanging and using data.