Enhancing alternative income for fisher families living close to the Pottuvil Lagoon

 
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Home garden in Pottuvil, Hidayapuram, Pottuvil © Kumudini Ekaratne, IUCN, 2012

Objectives

  • Conserving the biodiversity of the area;
  • Enhancing alternative income generation in coastal communities;
  • Reducing human pressure on coastal ecosystems;
  • Increasing sustainable use of natural resources;
  • Minimising environmental pollution;
  • Increasing food security 
  • Reducing poverty

Background

The Pottuvil Lagoon and its surrounding area on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, are undergoing rapid development after the cessation of a three-decade long civil unrest, and the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Mangrove habitats are being clear-felled for agriculture and tourism. In addition, there is overexploitation of fisheries resources from the Lagoon, and over-extraction of fuelwood from mangrove habitats.

In addition, poor resource management, poverty, lack of awareness and skills, and a lack of motivation, are compounding the threats to the area.

Conserving the coastal ecosystems of the area is essential for the provisioning, supporting and regulatory services they provide communities in the area.

Reducing the pressure on lagoon fishery resources, reducing other extractive uses, as well as destruction of coastal habitats, has become essential. Organic home gardening provides a means of alternative income generation that not only reduces pressure on the Lagoon, but also ensures a sustainable livelihood that does not damage the environment.

Interventions

• In addition t:o technical support, these beneficiaries were given support to establish organic gardens in their homes. Seeds and plants of beans, bitter gourd, brinjal (aubergine), chillies, guava, hog plum, lady’s fingers (okra), mango, orange, papaya, snake gourd and tomatoes were given to beneficiaries. Equipment such as watering cans, mammoties and other garden tools were also given.

• Community mobilisation was carried out to identify beneficiaries and obtain support from government and non-governmental officers, leaders of community-based organisations, religious heads and other stakeholders in the area.

• Three training sessions were conducted for 50 beneficiaries from two target villages - Thamaraikulam and Hidayapuram. The topics of these sessions were: a) home gardening techniques; b) organic farming systems; and c) business management, marketing opportunities and financial management. 

Target beneficiaries

50 beneficiaries from two target villages - Thamaraikulam and Hidayapuram in Pottuvil.

Outputs

50 home gardens.

Accomplishments and challenges

During a period of five months, beneficiaries were able to harvest about 11 kg of chilli, 13 kg of lady’s fingers (okra), 9 kg of long beans, 15 kg of brinjals (aubergines) and 13 kg of snake gourd.

On average, a beneficiary household receives an additional income of about 22-26 USD (3,000-3,500 LKR) per month from their organic garden.

This may not seem much, but each family’s purchasing capacity has been increased by about 50% since the home gardening project was initiated.

The additional income is used for daily expenses, mainly for meals. There is also evidence that beneficiaries are using this additional income to settle bank loans and to pay for the school expenses of their children.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

The home garden beneficiaries were mainly women. The project provided food security. 

Lessons Learned

  • The establishment of a linkage between the producer and the market was difficult because of the unprecedented demand for organic foods from hotels and the tourist industry.
  • It is expected that the establishment of a sales centre would better facilitate marketing.
  • This activity should be also extended to other farmers in the area.

Project Facts

Country

Location

Pottuvil

Topic

Duration

1st May 2011 to 29th Feb 2012

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 488,800.00

Implementing Partner

Mr S Inizath  (President)
Al Aksha Sarvoduaya Shramandana Society
 112 A, A.R.M. Mill Road
Addalichenai 01
Tel: + 94 67-3672842
al.aksha.sss@gmail.com

 

"The beneficiaries are very happy with their income, and want to continue this venture" Ms R Zahira, Project Assistant.

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