Conservation of Agro-Biodiversity– Organic Medicinal Plants and Vegetables
Conservation of Agro-Biodiversity– Organic Medicinal Plants and Vegetables
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Union Park is a small village situated in the district of Grand Port with a population of 3788 inhabitants of which 1869 are male and 1919 female. The main economic source of employment of the village is agriculture (Sugarcane and Vegetable production). The average income of a household in Union Park is about Rs 4,500. The Rose Belle SE was employing most of the labour in the village but with the recent fall in sugar price and the deep reforms carried out in the sugar estates most of the workers have opted for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme.

The Union Park Women Association is a registered association with sixty members, mainly unemployed women. The members of the association have taken upon themselves to review the traditional way of vegetable and fruit cultivation, which uses quite a great amount of chemicals (fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, etc) and to go for a much more environment friendly technique which is organic farming and thus embark into sustainable agriculture for Mauritius. Hundred persons are expected to benefit directly from the project.

The land identified will exhaustively be used, sometimes the whole surface and sometimes as intercrop to grow medicinal plants which will be sold to interested parties. An SGP grantee, APEPED has already indicated its interest to purchase these medicinal plants to be used for drying and tea bags production, a project supported by SGP.

It is to be noted that Mauritius imports food in large quantity from foreign countries which is consumed by our local inhabitants. With the increasing concern for fresh and good quality food among consumers and also with the growing number of tourists visiting Mauritius every year, this means that a potential market for the production of organic cultivation exists in our country. Thus the production of fresh organic cultivation can be envisaged by unemployed women as an agribusiness opportunity. At the same time, organic farming will reduce the load of chemicals used in the current cultivation techniques, not to mention the resulting contamination of our fresh water resources as well as the lagoon.

Competency development of unemployed women is a major objective of this project with a view to alleviate poverty in line with the pro-poor policy of the Government, encourage economic integration and inculcate organic farming techniques through sustainable agriculture. Training will emphasise on work skills and work habits in activities such as soil preparation, planting, crop treatment, use and preparation of compost, handling and storing crops, packaging for marketing and other related activities. Crops produced such as aromatic herbs and vegetables will respect the biodiversity of the island and help the struggle against food crisis. AREU has already proposed a list of local breeds of crops and fruit trees.

This project has the following major objectives :
1. To implement organic farming for medicinal plants as well as other vegetables and fruits
2. To build capacity of a group of women in sustainable agriculture techniques
3. To support the pro-poor policy of the Government

The total project cost is Rs.1,098,200 and the request to the GEF SGP is Rs.974,200. In-Kind Contribution from AREU is already committed and is estimated at around Rs. 100,000.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Union Park Women Association
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
International Waters
Grant Amount:
US$ 32,365.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 847.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 4,585.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/RAF/YR3/09/04
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
30 women involved in project
Notable Community Participation
The main objective of this project is to give a group of women the opportunity of acquiring the necessary techniques to go for organic farming and have their products certified to international standards. This will help the surrounding agricultural community to get sensitised to environment friendly avenues for cultivating fruits and vegetables while at the same time produce value added products for a demanding and emerging market. Specific objectives : • Convert 3 arpents of land into organic farming land • Train some 30 women in organic farming techniques • Obtain an internationally recognised certificate, Ecocert, for the products of the identified piece of land • Marketing and sale of the organic products
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Indicators
Biophysical
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 3
Empowerment
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 30
Livehood
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 30

Partnership

Fondation Ressources et Nature

Grantee Contact

Mrs Lakshmi Gunessee
Phone: 6779784
 

Address

Royal Road, Union Park

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