Support To Livelihood Diversification And Marine Conservation Through Operationalization of A Lime Fruit Processing Plant
Support To Livelihood Diversification And Marine Conservation Through Operationalization of A Lime Fruit Processing Plant
This second project is an enhancement of the first project entitled “Mitigation of Climate Change Through Lemon Cultivation at Graviers”, funded under the GEF-SGP. The project’s main area of focus will be the preservation of lagoon ecosystem and its natural resources through sustainable alternative livelihood activities.

Our Cooperative, the Rodrigues Lime Juice Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd, a new but very vibrant Cooperative has shared the ambition to develop a sustainable lime processing industry in Rodrigues. The choice to develop value-added lime fruit based products originates from the fact that this fascinating product is very specific to our region, which encompasses Graviers and Batatran. Our seven (7) members are currently involved in a wide array of subsistence activities including lagoon fishing, crop production and animal rearing. Hence, the raison-d’être of the Cooperative is the economic and personal emancipation of our members through sustainable activities for a better living.

This project coincides with the thrust and ambition expressed by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) to combat poverty through entrepreneurship and thereby creating a solid and modern private sector geared towards value added products for both the local and regional markets. This project requires much capital investment, expertise and networking, which our Cooperative does not currently possess. In addition, we aim to use the momentum initiated by the Regional Government to achieve our targets. In this context the RRA, through the Deputy Chief Commissioner’s Office is giving its full support for the successful implementation of a lime fruit processing facility at Graviers. Financial support under the GEF/SGP initiative is also being sought with a view to contributing to the implementation of the project. Thanks to GEF SGP and the DCC of the RRA, support of prime partner has been established with ‘Domaine de Labourdonnais’ for technical expertise and marketing of products.

It was initially speculated that annual lemon production in Rodrigues, largely exceeds annual consumption and export combined. This hypothesis was confirmed by a recent study conducted by the CIRAD focal point in Rodrigues, who has concluded that the unit production of lemon in Rodrigues oscillated around 7,755,000 per year, out of which 25% remains spoiled under trees. Moreover, in Graviers and its vicinity alone, approximately 1,140,150 lemons are not exploited. If this figure is extrapolated for the whole Rodrigues, the total amount of lemon remaining unexploited remains large, about 87 T of lemon per year.
In this context, the setting-up of this ambitious project is more than justified, as it would bring a certain economic empowerment to the community of planters and Cooperatives involved in the project. The lime processing facility will be run both by the Rodrigues Lime Juice Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd and Graviers Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd, based on an agreed schedule. Being given that each Cooperative will be involved in different processes, issues that may arise with the utilization of equipment would be minimal.

The processing will entail the pressing of lemon to produce a concentrate, which will be exported as such to ‘Domaine De Labourdonnais’. This would represent the largest buyer for the lime juice concentrate. A minor portion of the concentrate will be sold locally in various forms including ice cream and other lemonade. The lemon pulp will be sold by the Cooperative in lime juice to that of Graviers for fermentation and production of lime fruit pastes and sweet-sour lemon among others. The RRA will inject the start-up capital necessary to operationalize the facility. Revenue generated will be distributed equitably among the members of the Cooperative.

1.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the project

The Rodrigues Lime Juice Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Limited has been registered as a legal entity since July 2014 with the objective of setting-up a lime processing activity. The Cooperative comprises the following seven members:
1. Sakin EDOUARD – President;
2. Marie Sylvianie TOLBIZE;
3. Jean Chris Abel EMILIEN;
4. Marie Christelle BAPTISTE;
5. Marie Danielle CASTEL;
6. Marie Anne Joyce AZIE;
7. Jean Francois BAPTISTE.

The project was initiated when an association of youth of Batatran approached the Deputy Chief Commissioner’s Office. The group has created such buy-in that the Commission has accepted to embark on the project to act as facilitator being given that the project is in-phase with its policies of nurturing entrepreneurial spirit among the population.

Initially the group consisted of twenty (20) young men and women. However, after almost a year those who were less inclined to take the risks, have voluntary left the group. Today those remaining seven members form the core of the Cooperative and are willing to take the journey towards an experience which will change the course of their lives.


The setting-up of a lime processing facility is a new enterprise requiring the know-how and skills which are locally unavailable. In this context, none of our members actually reckons any background in such activity. Subsequently, capacity building programmes to enhance both our technical skills and entrepreneurial aptitude of the members is deemed critical for the project success. With the support of the GEF SGP and DCC’s Office, a first working session was organised with Mr. Reaz Gunga, Agro-Industry Manager at Domaine de Labourdonnais in September 2014 for an induction course in food processing. This workshop has helped our members to have an insight and a better understanding of what is industrial food production and its implications. Our Cooperative has had the opportunity also to weave relationship with Mr. Gunga.




























Induction Course in fruit processing by Mr. R. Gunga for the Cooperative members


Further to the linkage established with Domaine de Labourdonnais, four Cooperative members, two from Graviers Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd and two in Rodrigues Lime Juice Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd, have been selected to undertake a one-month training programme as from March 2015 at the processing unit at Domaine de Labourdonnais. The aim is to familiarize our local people with the equipment and processing techniques there. The Managing Director of Le Domaine de Labourdonnais has already granted approval for this placement programme. The programme will be funded under the Human Resource Development Council.

Due to our lack of skills and know-how to implement and run this project, nonetheless, the DCC’s Office and the GEF SGP are providing strong support and empowerment to build our capacity. Upon return to the island, the trainees formerly on placement will train the others in Rodrigues. We will then be fully equipped to run the factory.
1.3 Project Objectives and Expected Results

1.3.1 Problem Statement

• The village Batatran is located some 2-3km from the seashore of Graviers and most of its inhabitants depend upon agriculture and fishing to earn our living. With the overexploitation of the sea over decades, coupled with bad fishing practices, these resulted in some irreversible damages to the marine ecosystem such as the corals and the fish habitat. Marine Reserves have been set-up to curtail the problems, yet, other more sustainable and more attractive alternatives from an economical point which will thus be more appealing to the unemployed youths of the locality are needed.
• According to the latest survey conducted by ‘Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement’ (CIRAD), as much as 25% of annual production of lemon in Rodrigues is not exploited and does not contribute to the economy of the island. The remaining 75% is exported as fresh lemon usually on a nominal price which oscillates between Rs0.50 – Rs1.00 per unit depending on the season.
Primary objective

This project aims at creating and developing a sustainable economic industry, which would oscillate around lime fruit production and processing in Rodrigues for the creation of jobs, preservation of marine ecosystem as well the production of a natural and healthy beverage from our landrace lime commonly known as “limon de Rodrigues”.

Specific Objectives

1. Set-up and operationalize a fully equipped lime fruit processing facility at Graviers;

2. Enhance the technical skills of the beneficiaries with a view to running safely the equipment within the facility;

3. Develop the entrepreneurial aptitude of the beneficiaries




Project Rationale


The Lime processing facility is in-line with the strategy of the Regional Government (RRA) to instill the creation of sustainable and modern SMEs in Rodrigues and hence a solid private sector. In this perspective, the RRA is offering a plethora of support to nascent and existing entrepreneurs of different background to encourage the setting-up and modernization of their respective business activities.

For 2015, the goal of the RRA is to put in place the appropriate mechanisms, facilities and strategies in place to instill the creation of one hundred new enterprises. Our project remains an innovative undertaking, which is totally backed by the Regional Government and falls within its vision to shift towards modernity. Ultimately, the creation of a solid private sector resides in the creation of a new breed of entrepreneur and the move from the traditional sector such as artisanal fishing, subsistence agriculture to a more competitive and modern business model. This lime fruit-processing unit will serve as a business model to inspire the current and incoming generations of entrepreneurs as well as to the whole population.

As discussed earlier, the project cuts across sectors and touches sensitive environmental and socio-economic aspects, which are in-line with the donor programmes including GEF/SGP and UNDP.
 

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Rodrigues Lime Juice Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 33,142.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP5/YR4/CORE/BD/15/02
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
In order to favour gender mainstreaming and to prevent gender inequality, both women and men are being involved in the project. In addition, this project will contribute to the emancipation of women in the region of Graviers/ Batatran. They will be able to participate in an income earning activity and generate a monthly revenue that will considerably contribute in the improvement of their overall standard of living and economic welfare of their families. The ration of men to women in the Cooperative is 3 : 4. This is quite a fair balance when considering that the usual ration of men to women in similar projects is 1 : 10. The decision to deal indirectly with women or men remains an economic one. However, a fair balance would be observed between men and women should similar services or products be offered at relatively same prices.
Notable Community Participation
The project concept emanated from the youths in our Cooperative. Nonetheless due to complexity and capital resources required to implement such a project, the initial involvement of the community in the project was minimal. However, the Cooperative will be responsible for the operationalization of the plant right from the start. We will also be responsible to develop our supply chain including lime fruit producers and the RTMC. The RRA may intervene as and when may be required. The role of the RRA and the GEF/SGP will remain facilitators on the project.
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Indicators
Biophysical
Number of globally significant species protected by project 1
Livehood
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 16

Partnership

RRA, Domaine de Labourdonnais

Grantee Contact

Mrs Marie Christelle Baptiste
Phone: 8315 470
Fax: 8315466
 

Address

Batatran
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