Small-scale animal husbandry as a sustainable alternative to fishing
Small-scale animal husbandry as a sustainable alternative to fishing
The aim of this project is to provide an alternative source of income for the fishing community in Rivière Banane and to develop a demonstration project for sustainable land-use and integrated watershed management in Rodrigues. The project will help marine biodiversity by reducing fishing pressure in the lagoon, allowing fish stocks and degraded habitats to recover, while preserving popular diving and snorkelling sites which have healthy coral cover and are home to endemic species of coral and fish. It will also benefit the community in Rivière Banane by improving their income, providing a better standard of living for the fishers and their families. The project will be implemented by the Association Pêcheurs de Rivière Banane, a new association consisting of fishers who fish in the Rivière Banane area. The Association was formed because the fishers will no longer be able to earn their livelihood from the sea due to the setting up of the marine reserve and so wish to develop alternative sources of income in order to support their families.

Fishing is one of the largest employment sectors on Rodrigues, however the fisheries are now in serious decline and fishers are suffering from a loss of income. In response to the degradation of the reef environment and the need to improve fisheries sustainability, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly has adopted the proposal of Shoals Rodrigues and has embarked on a strategy to develop a network of marine reserves to allow degraded habitats to recover and fish stocks to regenerate. The 4 marine reserves, outputs of a previous GEF-SGP funded project, were proclaimed in April 2007, however the development of alternative livelihoods for fishers is vital to ensuring the success of the marine reserves in Rodrigues. Rivière Banane will be the first marine reserve to be demarcated and 63% percent of households in Rivière Banane are dependent on fishing to support their family; without other alternatives, fishers will have no choice but to continue to fish illegally within the reserve. The project is in line with the current priorities of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) as it will remove fishing pressure from the lagoon and builds upon a previous successful GEF-SGP project by Shoals Rodrigues which developed the network of marine reserves in Rodrigues.

The project will develop a sustainable farm based on small-scale animal husbandry which will provide sufficient income to members of the Association, preventing the need to go out fishing and therefore reducing pressure on the lagoon. The project will also create new business opportunities in the area through value added products (i.e. animal products, milk and cheese, tourism) providing benefit to the wider community. A further result will be the creation of a demonstration project for watershed management (erosion control, replacement of foreign invasive species by native species), which could be replicated in other areas around the island.

Preliminary studies will first be undertaken to highlight suitable grazing areas in the village of Rivière Banane for the livestock, the carrying capacity for the planting of fodder crops, and which areas will require rehabilitation. Socio-economic studies will also be undertaken to assess needs, potential problems and a marketing strategy. A 2 week training course will be provided to the Association in the relevant farming and marketing techniques, which will be run by agricultural experts from the region. As part of the training course a business plan to include a cost-benefit analysis will also be developed in collaboration with the consultants and all stakeholders. A farm of approximately 12 hectares will then be developed to raise goats, sheep, chickens and dairy cows in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. The farm will be composed of enclosed pasture grounds, fodder crops will be cultivated for feed in a “cut and carry” system and animal waste will be composted; endemic plants will also be planted to rehabilitate the land in the area preventing further land erosion and improving soil quality. Approximately 50 heads of each livestock type will be purchased and reared on the farm for sale both locally and export to Mauritius. The chickens will be of the Rodriguan variety (‘poule locale’), thus conserving local agricultural breeds.

The total project cost has been calculated at Rs 2,701,412 of which Rs1,496,288 is requested from the GEF-SGP. Contributions towards the remaining costs have been requested from the Indian Ocean Commission’s ‘Réseau des aires marines protégées des pays de la COI’ (Rs431,345), the Association Pêcheurs de Rivière Banane has committed Rs 450,000 and Shoals Rodrigues has committed Rs 323,779
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Association Pêcheurs de Rivière Banane
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 14,672.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 26,319.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/CORE/07/03
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
5. PLAN TO ENSURE COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION The Association Pêcheurs de Rivière Banane consists of 38 fishers from the communities of Rivière Banane, Brulé, Roche Bon Dieu and Grand Montagne, who will all be fully involved in and will directly benefit from the project. The project will also have wider reaching benefits on the local community: Manure from the farm will be sold as fertiliser to villagers who plant crops, thus reducing the need for chemical fertilisers. As the farm output increases, future businesses will also be able to develop in the area such as butcher’s shops selling fresh meat and produce (sausages, bacon etc.), or businesses producing and selling milk and cheese. Local shops and restaurants will also benefit from increased meat and meat products, reducing prices and allowing a diversification of dishes available. The project will also collaborate with other local organisations and NGOs during the farm development process such as the Agricultural Unit, Forestry Department and the Friends of Wildlife Rodrigues.
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
Development of the farm A farm of approximately 12 hectares will be developed at Rivière Banane to raise goats, sheep, chickens and dairy cows in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. The farm itself will be composed of 10 hectares of enclosed pasture grounds (i.e. corrals) that will prevent livestock from running about freely, damaging natural vegetation and causing erosion. Fodder crops for feed will be cultivated over an area of 2 hectares in a “cut and carry” system, thus decreasing feed import costs, providing a continued source of feed and allowing livestock to be labelled and marketed as ‘organic’. Endemic plants will also be planted to rehabilitate the land in the area preventing further land erosion and improving soil quality. The project will also involve the composting of animal waste (e.g. using rotary composters) and this compost can be used on the fodder crops, avoiding the need for chemical fertilisers, or be sold to other farmers in the area. Composting techniques have already been mastered by famers in Rivière Banane as a result of a previous GEF-SGP project and many of these farmers are also fishers. The members of the Association have all agreed to stop fishing during the duration of the project and they have created 4 groups who will each be in charge of raising one group of animals (goats, chickens, sheep and dairy cows). The members of the Association already have experience of raising livestock on their homestead and local techniques will be adapted to a larger scale. It is estimated that approximately 50 heads of goats, chickens and sheep and 5 heads of dairy cow will be purchased and reared on the farm. The chickens will be of the Rodriguan variety (‘poule locale’), thus conserving local agricultural breeds. The Strategic Option for Agricultural Sector in Rodrigues 2007-2015 states that the current level of export for goats, sheep and local chickens can be significantly enhanced while the local demand for chickens is currently not being met. Therefore, once the animals have reached a sufficient size, a percentage of the livestock will be sold locally or exported to Mauritius via the Mauritius Pride. In the future, value added products such as milk and cheese will also be developed by members of the Association to further increase profits and the sustainability of the project.
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Partnership

French GEF, Indian Ocean Commission, RRA, etc.

Grantee Contact

Mrs. Bonny Pierre Louis
Phone: 8311225
Email: admin@shoals.intnet.mu
 

Address

Riviere Banane
Rodrigues ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website