“Improving Local Red Bean Production in Baie Topaz, Rodrigues”
“Improving Local Red Bean Production in Baie Topaz, Rodrigues”
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The main economic activities of Rodrigues are agriculture and fishing. Rodrigues, since its autonomy in 2002, plans to further promote itself as an Organic Production island. The island has a rich heritage of traditional food items, which can be produced and marketed with an organic label. Giving a boost to Rodriguan agriculture is one of the main activities defined in the five-year Plan for the Non-Sugar Agricultural Sector. “Training of farmers and planters in Rodrigues, the adoption of new technology with a view to enhancing their agricultural productivity has been well emphasized in the plan. Furthermore, it is reported that tourists in Rodrigues more and more request biovegetables as they fit with the image of Rodrigues as a tourist destination as being natural, typical and “safe“ food.

Local red bean pulse is one of the main traditional cash crops being grown by the planters of Rodrigues. It is a French kidney bean type that through years of production and selection has developed specific Rodriguan characteristics, in terms of taste and adaptation to a range of agro-climatic conditions that makes it very popular amongst the local people and visitors. The produce fetches a high price on market, compared to the price of the imported bean pulse (2 to 3 times higher).

The Commission for Agriculture in Rodrigues is providing a wide range of incentives to the red bean planters who have regrouped themselves under a unique association. The overall objective is to increase production for the local market and for export. Equally, under the Food Security Fund, this project will benefit from the purchase of a tractor, drains rehabilitation and installation of irrigation reservoir and distribution to the tune of Rs. 4.95M.

Thus, the contribution of the GEF SGP funds and the Food Security Fund will consolidate the services already offered to the bean planters. The targeted approach to the bean planters of Baie Topaz will further enhance quick result and visibility of the project.

Objectives of proposed project

The project aims at improving the production capacity of the bean producers in the region of Baie Topaz by making them more autonomous in their activities. Presently, they are depending on a great extent on the Agricultural Services for the preparation of their land as well as for pests and diseases control.

Moreover, since numerous pests and diseases affect bean, the project aims at an integrated approach to reduce the frequency and the quantity of pesticides that are being used, thus lessening the side effects on the environment. The area is located quite near to the sea.

Provision has been made in the Food Security Fund to put in place an irrigation system for the planters. This will include bringing the water from a reservoir to the planters’ field. Thus an irrigation system will be required for irrigating the bean crops. Bean is very vulnerable to shortage of water and in the west rainfall is very erratic. This project submitted to GEF SGP aims at providing planters with family drip system on a pilot basis to improve their production.

Furthermore, since we do not know the origin of the bean that is being planted, the project aims at identification and characterization of the variety. This will help to maintain the purity of the local bean and identify ways for further research on the variety. If the product is going to be marketed with an organic or Rodriguan label, we will be able to know for sure whether the variety is unique to the island, to boost its commercial value. Samples of the seeds will then be stored in gene banks in collaboration with the institutions found in Mauritius. The aim is to market the produce with a geographical indicator, then later, once having been certified, with an organic label.

The planters are already using manure in their plantation, but this is not enough to sustain and improve production. Since Master composters have been formed in previous GEF SGP/UNDP projects, these resource persons will be used to train and demonstrate to the planters the use of composters (windrow composting) for them to enhance the quality of manure being used presently.

Provision will be made to have sealed containers for storing of seeds for next season planting and equipment for testing of seed viability, before storage and before planting. Crop failure due to poor germination rate is very common.

Marketing of the produce will be done through the Rodrigues Trade and Marketing Co Ltd (RTMC). There is a high demand for the produce on the local and the national market.

Organisation
The NGO responsible for this project is the “Association des Planteurs d’Haricot de Rodrigues”. It is the only association of the island for Red Bean and regroups most of the bean planters in the different regions. The main objectives are as follows:
• Clustering of bean producers
• Providing services to its members
• Increasing the quantity and improve the quality of bean being produced in Rodrigues
• Promoting the use of the product
• Promoting and safeguarding interests of its members, pertaining to the marketing of their products

Suitability of project
This project seeks to promote activities that demonstrate ways of adopting best practices to increase and improve bean production and combat land degradation. It concentrates on activities to conserve the local red bean and grow it sustainably. Bean is the main cash crop of these planters and it is planted every year at almost the same period. Only one crop is planted per year.

There are agricultural lands still available in this region for agricultural activities. The project will be used as a boost to encourage more planters to get involved in bean production and for those already involved, to increase their area under production and their yield.

The project is in line with the policy of the Commission for Agriculture to increase area of land under production, to increase yield and the “filière” approach. Moreover since the action is region specific, the impact of the project will be more visible and this can serve as example for development of the other filières and key crops identified by the Commission (such as local lemon, chilli, onion, fowl). The project is also in line with the GEF SGP RAF strategic priority on biodiversity in that it promotes sustainable agriculture and encourages the use of local varieties and breeds (agro-biodiversity).

Intended end results
By the end of the project, it is expected that planters will have safeguarded the local red bean, will increase their area under production, presently at 9 ha to 15 ha, increasing their efficiency while cutting on their cost of production. Planters will be trained on an integrated approach to control pests and diseases to reduce the quantity and frequency of pesticides that are being used. They will also be trained in compost making to enhance the quality of the farmyard manure that they are using presently. The product will be marketed with a Rodriguan label (Geographical Indication).


Result dissemination
A workshop will be held at the end of the project to present the key outcomes. Meanwhile, during the project cycle, the activities that are being done will be disseminated to other bean planters and they will be organized to visit the group and discuss the activities being implemented.

The project will be used as an imperative action to reinforce the Association while attaining the objectives that have been set.

A report based on the experience gained will be produced for dissemination. This report will be made accessible to all stakeholders and will be shared on the GEF SGP website and the internet in general.

Budget
The total budget of the project is estimated to be Rs. 10,138,745. A request of Rs. 1,144, 595 is being submitted to the GEF/SGP. Other co-funding in kind and in cash are: Food Security Fund Rs. 4,95 M, Commission for Agriculture Rs.897,750, Community contribution Rs 608,350 and projected request to IFAD under its MARS Programme agreement with GEF SGP Rs.2,538,050.

 

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Association des Planteurs Haricot de L'ile Rodrigues
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 36,027.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 309,197.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 19,148.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/Yr2/CORE/08/06
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
Commission of Agriculture will support the planters in their training and capacity building
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
Fishers are being encouraged in this project to quit sea based activities and adopt cultivation of red beans with support from teh Food Security Fund. Only one variety is grown (red local variety) and its cultivation is effected in only 1 season (April/May- end of June/July). Normally planters keep their own seeds, as the production capacity at the Agricultural Services is limited. No planters are involved in the production of certified seeds. The area under cultivation ranges from 17 to 53 hectares. Some 400 growers cultivate beans every year. However, the crop is very vulnerable and during drought period, yield is drastically reduced. Moreover, all the cultural operations are manual; which make the cost of production very high. Mechanization operations is provided free of charge to the planters by the Commission for Agriculture, but the there is always a backlog, with result that some planters do not receive the service on time. This project consists of providing the planters in the village of Baie Topaz and its vicinity with facilities for them to increase and improve their production, with less reliance on the services offered by the Commission for Agriculture, excluding Extension Services. The production area which on average is around 4 Acres per year, has more than doubled this year, hence the support of the project is most welcome to provide a further boost to bean production in that region. The project will target some 60 bean planters in the region.
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Partnership

Rodrigues Regional Assembly

Grantee Contact

Mr System Administrator
 

Address

Mrs Clauda SPEVILLE
Pistaches , 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

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