“Improving the Rodriguan Fowl Production in Rodrigues”
“Improving the Rodriguan Fowl Production in Rodrigues”
1 Executive Summary
Rodrigues has a long tradition in the production of basic food commodities of both crop and livestock. Over time we have been observing a change in consumption habits, where consumers find imported products more accessible and a lower cost which has lead to a reduction in local production – less people involved in agriculture or small flock size. Despite of this fact, agriculture has remained the central economic activity sector in Rodrigues.

It is estimated that around 4000 farmers are involved in backyard family poultry production in Rodrigues. Farmers rear indigenous scavenging chickens, which are known as the ‘local’ breed, presumably a mixture of Rhode Island Red, Australorp and Naked neck breeds introduced on the islands two to three centuries ago by early settlers. Poultry rearing constitutes an important source of both food and income to many farmers. Almost all Rodrigues families rear a few to hundreds of scavenging chickens which are consumed locally and export also. The birds fetch a high price as it is very tasty and have always been highly demanded especially by the Chinese Community of Mauritius.

Local poultry production has remained on amateurish basis as farmers have no structured market for local poultry, they have no training on semi or larger scale fowl production and farmers are hesitant to invest in poultry production as there is no model farm for large scale local poultry rearing in Rodrigues.

There is a need to preserve the indigenous fowl of Rodrigues and also to improve its rearing system to have better carcass quality and also preserve the special values (flavor and organic product). This project will concern 3 farms to be grouped to engage in chicks production and 7 other farms to engage in meat and egg production. These will be small farms which will start with 50 to 75 heads to 125 in the first year and aiming at 200 in the 2nd year per farm. Pasture size is not available right now as it will be designed according to the farmers' possibilities. Dead animals if any will be referred to the Veterinary services for enquiry as per usual procedures and disposed of in the appropriate manner. Odor problems are not expected given the distances between the proposed farms and habitations and finally chicken wastes will be collected in bins and composted and compost sold to the local planters.

Opportunities
The increase in population and the need to achieve self-sufficiency in poultry meat definitely compel this sector for a large increase in production to reach targeted demand of 900 tons by 2015. Local fowl have a promising avenue because it is an almost organic production system.
Some challengers of this sector are:
- High mortality rate of chicks
- Treatment of diseases / Lack of disease control or prevention routine by farmers
- Degeneration of breed
- Poor marketing structure
- Decrease in exportation and competition with imported or lower cost broiler
- Loss of fowl in free-range farming
As production increases Rodrigues, would be able to reduce its importation of poultry from Mauritius and also increase revenue from export of poultry – the export of Fowl by Rodrigues is in a downward trend and was only 190 baskets in 2008 compared to 290 in 2007 and 230 in 2006 and compared to 1999 it was 518 baskets. By ensuring a regular supply of poultry, we would be able to maintain a market for regular supply of Local Poultry as well as eggs. When producing our own fowl feed fewer outflows of cash will be recorded versus poultry production as less imported feed will be required.
The beneficiary and implementation team will be farmers from “The Rodrigues Local Poultry Association” which is the regrouping of farmers of the west of Rodrigues with the collaboration and coordination of the Rodrigues Trading and Marketing Co. LTD. The Association under the impetus and support of the RTMC which is a private company, limited by share with Shareholding Structure of 60% by Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) and 40% by State Trading Corporation (STC), is submitting a project proposal for “Improving the Rodriguan Fowl Production in Rodrigues”. The RTMC has been established by the RRA to give support to and identify sector of priority in the Agricultural sector of Rodrigues and more importantly to organize a marketing framework for Rodrigues Agricultural products which is one of the major problem facing farmers in Rodrigues that is to sell their products on due time and at a realistic price.

The main economic activity of Rodriguans is agriculture and the Rodrigues Regional Assembly has been developing strategy to drive more people to agriculture to fight the problem of unemployment in the island. Several facilities are being provided to farmers to maximise local production through the use of new production techniques and the redeployment of fishers to inland agricultural activities has already started. Most of these fishers are from the coastal regions and have inland agriculture activity as another alternative source of revenue.

Poultry production in Rodrigues consists of so called “local” or “Rodriguan” fowl as well as the commercial layers and broilers which are imported from Mauritius. The local fowls are a mixture of the Rhodes Island Red, Black Orpington, Black Neck and White Leghorn breeds. The local poultry production is carried on a family poultry farming system and is a source of income and food to the Rodriguan family. Local poultry production is being done on a small scale because of many problems facing farmers in this field of production. Though there is a great demand for it the market is not well structured.

The improvement of Local Fowl production would result in:
? Better pest and disease control
? Reduction in mortality rate of chicken (loss is approximately 70% of new born chicken)
? Better control and access to poultry and eggs
? Increase in production of maize which would be used as animal feed
? Better Carcass quality and increase in egg production

Suitability of project
This project seeks to promote activities that demonstrate ways of adopting best practices to increase and improve Rodriguan Fowl production and increased income for low-income and vulnerable group of mostly women famers. It concentrates on activities to conserve the local Rodriguan Fowl and reproduce it sustainably.

The project is in line with the policy of the Commission for Agriculture to target demand of 900 tons of poultry by 2015 and achieve self-sufficiency in poultry needs and organise production of the Rodriguan fowl. Moreover it will serve as a demonstration and capacity building project as well as applied research and policy analysis. It is expected to serve as example for replication of such initiatives. 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 the demonstration farms will have been set up and and Rodriguan fowl production will have been safeguarded and increased. There will be an increase in local fowl production and preservation of local breeds in growing farms and hatching units. Famers will have been trained on best techniques for fowl, eggs and meat production.. The product will be marketed with a Rodriguan label in a newly design package in the local and Mauritian Market. We expected to distribute Rodrigues Local Fowl in supermarket also.

Result dissemination
A workshop will be held at the end of the project to present the key outcomes. 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. 2,915,940.00. A request of Rs 1,585,390.00 is being submitted to the GEF/SGP. Other co-funding in kind and in cash are the Beneficiary farmers Rs. 437,000.00 and Food Security Fund Rs 893,550.00
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Rodrigues Local Poultry Association
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 49,902.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 28,126.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 20,050.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/Yr2/CORE/08/05
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
A meeting was held by RTMC prior to the write-up of the project proposal with a group of women engaged in poultry rearing. Discussions were held on the prospect of this field of activities, problem areas and what can be done to encourage local poultry production. The farmers participating in the meeting have immense interest to expand their production given that resources are available to help them start under the new farming system. During training and working session, community participants will be made to understand the importance of their commitment for the success of the project and what is expected from them. The participants should also be self motivated to succeed in the enterprise and be able to bring contribution in the execution of the project. All the women want to be economically dependent and are engaged in different farming activities each contributing to help them earn a living. All these farming activities keep them working a whole day to satisfy their basic needs. However if they would specialise in some major and more lucrative activities, it would be less resource deployment for them and there would be maximised profit. The farmers have knowledge of RTMC activities and are confident that with its support and collaboration of the Commission for Agriculture progress can be achieved in the new farming system proposal. Right from the beginning of any of the activities and objectives, a meeting will be held to explain to community participants and they will be consulted regularly as the project progresses. The Management and Technical Committee will work to keep the community participant well motivated by assisting them in the execution of the project. A representative from different layers of the community will form part of the Management Committee.
Gender Focus
All women
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Indicators
Empowerment
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 9

Partnership

Food Security Funds

Grantee Contact

Mrs. Jivarette Swee
 

Address

C/o Rodrigues Trading and Marketing Co Ltd.
Citronelle, 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