Poultry farm Arugambay, Sri Lanka © KEkaratne , 2009
The objective of this project was to conserve and protect the coastal ecosystem by providing alternative income-generating opportunities for local communities.
Coastal communities in Pottuvil suffer from severe poverty and environmental degradation. They have few sources of income and lack the skills and education needed to improve their livelihoods. Poverty and environmental quality are closely linked: the need for firewood, shelter and other materials drives local people to cut mangroves indiscriminately.
This project sought to improve incomes and reduce pressure on the remaining mangroves in Pottuvil by promoting poultry farming as an alternative economic activity. The Arugam Bay Tourism Association (ABTA) used a small grant from MFF to establish a poultry farm on their land in Pottuvil to provide direct benefits to 20 widows and their families. The women shared the work of the farm, taking turns to carry out routine husbandry activities.
Twenty widows and their families in the Pottuvil coastal area.
The project established a broiler poultry farm which can house about 1,000 birds, and employed 20 widows in managing production. A total of 500 chickens were raised and sold over two production cycles, earning a net profit of US$350 in the first cycle and US$266 in the second. These profits were equally divided among the 20 project beneficiaries, giving each woman an average income of US$18 per cycle. This additional income served to reduce coastal exploitation pressure from the beneficiaries and their families.
Two challenges faced by the project were inflation, which raised the costs of production, and severe drought conditions.
The project aimed to give 20 widows employment and an alternative livelihood.
It is important to keep the local authority (Divisional Secretariat, or DS) informed of project activities. In this case, monthly reports at a community coordinating committee meeting held at the DS office ensured the transparency of activities.
A well-managed and profitable broiler chicken farm can be established with limited resources, providing direct employment for women farm workers and also creating jobs in maintenance and support services which further help the community.
ABTA has helped to protect the coastal environment by creating a new source of income for poor families who would otherwise depend almost entirely on natural ecosystems and their resources.