The project aims at strengthening the technical and entrepreneurial skills of the Seaweed Multipurpose Cooperative Society
The UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme supports a seaweed farming and valorisation project in Rodrigues Island
September 23, 2022
A memorandum of agreement was signed between the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme, Ter Mer Rodriguez Association, and the Seaweed Multipurpose Cooperative Society (SMSC), to promote the farming and valorisation of seaweed in Petite Butte, Rodrigues. This new partnership was officialized on 20 September 2022 in Port Mathurin, in the presence of Honourable Johnson Roussety, Chief Commissioner of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA); Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Mauritius Resident Representative, and other stakeholders.
The Gracilaria Salicornia Farming and Valorisation in Rodrigues Island Project aims at supporting the livelihoods of members of the Petite Butte community who farm and process seaweed into food products. This project, which is implemented under the UNDP-GEF-Small Grants Programme, has a budget line of Rs 2,3 M and aims at strengthening the technical and entrepreneurial skills of the Seaweed Multipurpose Cooperative Society and enabling them to develop higher value products.
Founded by 8 former fisherwomen, the Seaweed Multipurpose Cooperative Society has benefited from trainings in seaweed farming from the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) and the Fisheries Research and Training Unit of the RRA. In 2017, the cooperative approached Ter Mer Rodriguez for further scientific training in seaweed farming and courses in product design. In 2020, the cooperative benefited from additional training in food processing under the UNDP-GEF Mainstreaming Biodiversity Project.
Under the Gracilaria Salicornia Farming and Valorisation Project, the cooperative will benefit from new grow-out techniques to explore local edible seaweed with the appropriate tools and equipment. Additionally, a professional processing unit will be built at Petite Butte to enhance product quality, marketing and commercialization processes.
During the signature ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Amanda Serumaga acknowledged the Rodrigues Regional Assembly for their support to seaweed farming and valorisation which has the potential to be developed into a significant industry. She also congratulated Ter Mer Rodriguez for the support provided to the cooperative, and emphasized that “At the UNDP, we are committed in doubling our efforts to build economies and societies that are more equitable, resilient, and greener.” Ms. Serumaga also expressed the wish that this project will contribute in enhancing social inclusion and that its benefits will reach at least 40% of women and youth.
Following the signature of the Memorandum of Agreement, a site visit was conducted at Petite Butte on 21 September 2022. It allowed representatives of the UNDP Mauritius Country Office, the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme and her Excellency Charlotte Pierre, British High Commissioner, to take stock of the conditions within which the Seaweed Multipurpose Cooperative Society works, and of means to be deployed to improve their product and livelihoods.