The original impetus came in 1983, when SIFFS took up the boat building programme.
Research and Development in several aspects of artisanal fisheries has been one of the major concerns of SIFFS shortly after its inception in 1980. While fish marketing, credit and support to member societies were the most important issues around which SIFFS was founded, a combination of several factors propelled SIFFS to take an active role in R & D, beginning with the plywood canoe intervention in 1983.
With its re-organisation into a formal three-tier structure in 1985, SIFFS was given formal mandate to take up research and development in general, with special emphasis on fishing craft and propulsion. A part of the rationale behind this mandate was the status of SIFFS as a fishermens organization, which made it possible for fishermen to have control over development and dissemination of technologies that had the potential to significantly affect their future. The closeness of SIFFS to the grassroots level was also important, as this enables it to assess the requirements of the fishermen and refine these needs into a workable product.
SIFFS, which started off as a fishermen organization to take up collective marketing and credit programmes, entered R & D through a conjunction of several events. The original impetus came in 1983, when SIFFS took up the boat building programme. Once the technical skills were in place, there was a strong demand from fishermen for various services, which forced SIFFS to take up R& D for the artisanal sector at a more formal level.
The R & D programme of SIFFS has made several significant contributions to the sector. The plywood canoe, in several models for different fisheries, is perhaps the most significant of these, but there have been useful output in other areas as well.