Financing of development pilot projects is one of AARDO's core activities undertaken in its member countries. The Organization lays emphasis on encouraging member countries to undertake such projects which significantly contribute to their rural economy through alleviation of poverty, provision of good living conditions, creation of opportunities for income and employment generation, etc. Therefore, efforts are made to ensure that the projects are need-based and aim at improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries with their own active participation. It is envisaged that the implementation of the project would create awareness among rural people and induce them to utilize their indigenous knowledge, available natural resources and capabilities to replicate such projects for larger benefits. The rural women's participation has been an important ingredient of AARDO's policy with regard to development projects. AARDO makes every effort, while providing assistance for implementation of a project, to ensure that it eventually becomes self-sustaining. The maximum limit of AARDO's financial assistance is US dollars fifty thousand (US$50,000). As per modus operandi, AARDO's projects are implemented on cost sharing basis with the concerned host government/institutions and the beneficiaries.

During the period under review, the following two new projects were approved:

Development of Dairy Cooperative Logistics System January 2017, Mauritius

image The Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives (Cooperatives Division) of the Government of Mauritius has submitted the above project proposal through National Development Unit (NDU), Prime Minister's Office, Government of the Republic of Mauritius for AARDO's financial assistance.

The cooperative dairy sector in Mauritius is passing through a precarious situation with a decreasing number of cooperative cow breeders and decline in the production of milk by dairy cooperative societies. To give a boost to the cooperative dairy sector in Mauritius and to assist in redressing the situation, the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives (Cooperatives Division) sought consultancy services from AARDO for restructuring and consolidation of the cooperative dairy sector in Mauritius.

Accordingly, AARDO had deputed one expert from India (Prof. Jabir Ali, Chairman, Management Development Programme (MDP), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow) to Mauritius from 28 April to 21 May 2016 for the provision of 'Consultancy Services to carry out a study of the Cooperative Dairy Sector in Mauritius, to make recommendations for restructuring and consolidation of the Sector and to provide necessary technical assistance. After completion of the assignment, the Report was submitted. One of the recommendations of the Report led to the Project proposal on 'Development of Dairy Cooperative Logistics System'.

Mauritius is highly dependent on import of milk and milk products, as over 90% of milk and milk products are imported. The local milk production has continuously decreased over the years while demand for milk and dairy products kept increasing. There is a dire need to give a boost to the dairy sector to promote food security and prevent drain on foreign exchange and dependency on basic foodstuffs. Dairy cooperatives, if adequately empowered, would have a major contribution in giving a boost to the dairy sector in Mauritius.

There is no network/logistic support for procurement of milk from primary cooperative societies/individual cow-breeders for processing at the Mauritius Livestock Marketing Cooperative Federation (MLMCF) due to non-availability of transport system, and equipment such as milk quality testing machines and bulk milk coolers. Most of the primary cooperatives are, therefore, selling their milk to the private companies or directly to the consumers.

Due to the absence of network/logistic support, MLMCF is neither making optimum use of its pasteurization plant, nor dairy cooperatives are able to benefit from the pasteurization service offered by MLMCF. With the absence of the network/logistic support, all milk produced by the breeders is not collected. The network/logistic support will allow the MLMCF to:

  • transport milk according to sanitary norms;
  • morning and evening collection of milk;
  • ensure better quality of milk;
  • increase production of processed milk; and
  • better service the cooperative cow breeder's community.
his project aims at designing and developing a dairy cooperative logistics system for efficient and effective collection and distribution of milk and milk products in the country. Also, the project aims at assisting the MLMCF in making optimal use of its pasteurization plant. The project would also help in restructuring and ensuring sustainability of the cooperative dairy sector in Mauritius. The dairy logistics network would be completed in a phased manner. The country will be divided into two milk zones, namely, Zone 1 and Zone 2.

Considering importance of the project, an amount of US $40,000 was approved and accordingly, it was released during January 2017 keeping in view of the requirement of the project. A ceremonial cheque was handed over to the Honourable Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives (Cooperatives Division) of the Government of Mauritius during his visit to the AARDO Secretariat on 16 January 2017.

Initiatives for Commercial Breadfruit Production January 2017, Sri Lanka

The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has submitted the project proposal on above titled subject for AARDO's financial assistance during November 2016.

Breadfruit is one of the crops that offers great potential to food industry in alleviating poverty and improving nutrition while assuring zero hunger, as indicated by sustainable development goals set in the Global Agenda (2030). Sri Lanka is rich in breadfruit diversity as it continued to propagate and plant for centuries without any formal breeding and improvement programme. Variation in tree architecture, morphology, horticultural characteristics and other properties are observed in 15 districts of wet and intermediate agro-climatic zones. Fruiting season and fruit yield also vary across the regions, thus a great potential exists for improvement and utilization. Production and popularization of breadfruit as a fruit, vegetable and breadfruit starch based food products offer new avenues to reduce malnutrition, increase income level and employment opportunities, provide raw material for other industrial applications and assist in environment conservation strategies.

Thus, making the numerous good-quality flavorful cultivars more widely available will provide nutritious food and trees for sustainable agriculture, agro forestry, home gardens and income generation. Breadfruit is a popular vegetable in Sri Lanka too. However, it has to compete with backyard tree of jackfruit. Breadfruit is also commonly found in wet and intermediate zone of the island. Sri Lanka has remarkable opportunities to enter into this new market of breadfruit industry. A single breadfruit tree can feed a family of four for over 50 years, helping to mitigate hunger and hunger – related maladies in the country.

The cultivation of breadfruit will also generate lucrative economic benefits to Sri Lanka. Breadfruit can be ground into versatile, flavorful flour that mimics the characteristics of wheat flour, providing healthier, gluten–free and more economic alternative to costly imported wheat flour. Furthermore, global interest in gluten – free breadfruit has increased exponentially. Both American and European consumers are eager to purchase breadfruit and breadfruit flour – and Sri Lanka could export this flour into these lucrative export markets.

It is indicated that one hectare plantation of breadfruit for processing to breadfruit flour will generate sustainable, annual revenue of about US $20,000 after seventh year onward, but for 50–70 years with very little maintenance. The main objectives of the project are to:

  • develop a lucrative breadfruit industry in the Island;
  • open avenues for breadfruit-based industries;
  • generate new employment opportunities and source of foreign exchange;
  • share food and nutrition security; and
  • share efforts to improve environment quality.
The Department of Agriculture, Fruit Research and Development Institute, Food Research Unit, Institute of Post-Harvest Technology and Lanka Association Breadfruit will implement the project. Overall responsibility and the management will rest with the Sri Lanka Bred Association, under the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture. Considering the importance of the project, an amount of US $40,000 has been approved by AARDO, in January 2017, for the implementation of the project. Accordingly, approval has been conveyed to the Ministry for kick start of the project.

Following is the status of AARDO-assisted on-going project:

Empowering Vulnerable Communities with Opportunities to Undertake Income Generating Ventures, Intended to Mitigate Poverty and Food Insecurity June 2014, Zambia

The project is aimed at empowering women and youth groups through formation of clubs with start-up capital to undertake income-generating ventures in order to help alleviating poverty and enhance food security. The main objectives of the project are to:
  • empower women and youth groups with start-up capital to undertake income generating enterprises;
  • enhance entrepreneurship skills amongst the registered women and youth groups; and
  • promote the food security at household levels.
An amount of US $40,000 was approved by AARDO for implementation of the project. However, the implementation of the project had been delayed due to some administrative procedures and change in location. On 04th June 2014, a formal request was received from the nodal Ministry to change the location for implementation of the project from Kapoche Constituency, Petuak District to Mkushi District. Considering the request and implementation plan submitted by the Ministry, first installment of US $20,000 was released on 20th June 2014 for the implementation of the project.

In January 2017, the Regional Office of AARDO for Southern Africa submitted the progress report of the project along with account of expenditure. The construction work of the Project was expected to be completed by February 2017. The amount pertaining to the first installment was spent on the activities such as procurement of hardware, timber & steel flat sheets, door & window frames, labour cost, monitoring and evaluation, other building materials like sand, cement, etc and on the other activities of the project.

On completion of construction works and receipt of information from the Regional Office, the second and final installment of US$20,000 of AARDO's approved grant would be released accordingly. The implementation of the project is being regularly followed up with the Regional Office of AARDO for Southern Africa, Lusaka, Zambia.