Enhancement of livelihoods of fisher folks through Aloe vera cultivation, processing and marketing in Panama



  • Enhance resilience among coastal communities against poverty, resource destruction, economic shocks and coastal disasters
  • Reduction of coastal resource dependency by means of introducing non-traditional livelihood options.
  • Empowerment of economic status of fisher women


In the absence of proper infrastructure facilities and inability to invest on modern fishing gear and crafts to harvest the resources in the deep sea areas, fishermen in Panama have to be rely mainly on near shore fishery resources. The post-tsunami rehabilitation process and increased number of small fishing crafts donated by wel wished further aggravated the pressure on the limited resources in the near shore and Panama lagoon areas. Additionally, the global economic shock which appeared through high level of fuel prices conpounded the situation. As a result, the coastal communities engaged in fishing have been exposed to a vulnerable situation due to rapid resources depletion. In view of the above, it is necessary to build resilience among the fisher folk against the vulnerabilities. Therefore, to reduce the dependency on near shore coastal resources diversification of livelihoods is a must.  Considering these facts it is important to focus more on alternative livelihood development in the Panama fishing village. Hence, introducing Aloe vera cultivation and beverage production and marketing as supplementary income generating activities for fisher community in Panama was considered. This initiative is a replication of successfully tested livelihood project in Kalpitiya area with similar fisheries community. 



  • Selecting beneficiaries
  • Conduct awareness workshop
  • Field visit to  Aloe vera cultivation project  in Kalpitiya
  • Supply and planting Aloe vera seed plants
  • Hire an Assistant and establish a processing unit
  • Purchase a sellling cart/tricycle and hire a salesman
  • Harvesting, beverage production and marketing of produce
  • Distribute 6000 awareness brochures  and 6000 postes to popularized Aloe vera products
  • Conduct a promotion campaign among hoteliers in Arugambay on Aloe vera products


Target beneficiaries

10 fishing families in Panama.


  1. Increased level of awareness on coastal resources and importance of livelihood  diversification
  2. Established 08 Aloe vera farming units as home gardens in Panama village
  3. Established Aloe Vera  gel and beverage  processing unit
  4. Deployed mobile selling unit
  5. Outreach programme for popularizing Aloe vera consumption in the area

Accomplishments and challenges

  • The unusual dry season has affected the growth of the Aloe vera plants in July to October 2012. Almost all the beneficiaries underwent difficulty due to scarcity of water. This affected the growth of plants considerably.   
  • Unexpected heavy rains resulted a flood condition in Panama from November, 2012 to end January 2013 componded the situation by damaging the cultivated plots. 
  • Delays occurred in response time due to the long distance between Panama and Kalpitiya for initiatives.
  • Preparation of daily Aloe drink being interrupted due to  inability to  harvest aloe leafs continuously.




Contributions to cross-cutting themes

The main beneficiaries are females. The entire family will be benefitted through the generated income.  

Homestead cultivation has resulted in the cosmetic company stopping collection of Aloe vera from the wild, thus contributing towards biodiversity resilience.  

Lessons Learned

In view of the projected sales during the tourist season which will commence from the month of April, the existing extent of cultivation is inadequate. Thus, it will be necessary to expand cultivation to ensure a continuous supply of Aloe vera for beverage production.

Aloe vera plants were provided from Kalpitiya to commence the sales on a pilot scale but this cannot be continued in the long run, because of high travel costs.  

Close monitoring by MCRCF has become difficult because of the distance involved for travel. 

Project Facts






1st Jun 2012 to 31st May 2013

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 730,900

Co-financing Partner

LKR 64,000 (MCRCF)

LKR 399,040 (Community)

Implementing Partner

Mr M.N.M.M. Nusry
Marine & Coastal Resources Conservation Foundation (MCRCF)
5/5, Hill Street,
+ 94 032-2260480


"The plants were affected by severe floods and drought, one after the other. This affected growth of plants. However, we have started selling plants for beverage production and earn about LKR 800 (USD 8) per month".   Wasana Darshani (beneficiary)

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