Digital innovation has boosted the fisheries supply chain in Oman at a time when restriction on movement has disrupted the market conditions. Behind that notable transition is the success of Behar, an integrated electronic platform that started with fish auctions for wholesale and soon dived into retail business, which has already registered sale of RO250,000mn and about 270 tonnes of fish since its start in March.
Behar now has as many as 170 fish companies registered on the platform, increasing it footprint across Oman. Speaking to Muscat Daily, Mohammed Mansoor al Housseini, Founding partner of Behar, said, “We established the platform on March 28. Till now, 170 fish firms have registered with us with more than a quarter of a million Omani riyals worth fish sold, totalling about 270 tonnes of fish. We have been successful in registering over 310 merchants engaged in fishing and more than 13,000 visitors in the last four months.”
Behar was one of the first e-platforms to be selected by Oman Technology Fund (OTF), a specialised government-backed fund that invests in IT and innovative startups, for funding support from an endowment of RO1mn earmarked for Omani entrepreneurial initiatives spawned by the COVID-19 crisis.
Behar allows for individual consumers to check out what’s on offer in their neighbourhood fish stores or local outlets, select the fish, its prices and quantities they want online, and request delivery of the items purchased at their doorstep.
“The platform offers bids to buy and sell fish to consumers. As a bidding/auctioning platform, sellers quote a minimum price as the starting bid on their goods and solicit offers from registered wholesale buyers. The platform also serves as a window for international companies to take advantage of buying local fish. We initially faced some challenges, such as convincing people to buy and sell through the platform but the pandemic helped us expedite the uptake among consumers, said Housseini.
He added that electronic platforms have achieved great success during the spread of the virus. “The platform aims to expand its operations beyond the central fish wholesale markets by displaying the products of Omani fish companies and marketing them electronically. The platform also aims to link the fish landing areas and market them through the platform. I believe, that this success will continue, as we continue to develop our platform.”
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