DEVELOPMENT PILOT PROJECTS
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. Efforts are, therefore, 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 component 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$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

AARDO had deputed, Prof. Jabir Ali, Chairman, Management Development Programme, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, India as an expert 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 the restructuring and consolidation of the sector and to provide necessary technical assistance. The assignment has been completed and Report submitted. One of the recommendations of the Report was development Project on 'Development of Dairy Cooperative Logistics System'. Accordingly, the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives (Cooperatives Division) of the Government of Mauritius submitted project proposal through National Development Unit (NDU), Prime Minister's Office, Government of the Republic of Mauritius for AARDO's financial assistance.

The project revolved around the 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's target was to assist the Mauritius Livestock Marketing Cooperative Federation (MLMCF) in making optimal use of its pasteurization plant. The project would also help in restructuring and ensuring the sustainability of the cooperative dairy sector in Mauritius. The dairy logistics network would be done in a phased manner and the country would be divided into two milk zones: Zone 1 and Zone 2.

Considering the importance of the project, an amount of US $40,000 was approved and accordingly, 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.

On 21 June 2017, Mauritius High Commission, New Delhi has forwarded the progress report of the project received from the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives (Cooperatives Division) of the Government of Mauritius. According to the report, the specifications for the purchase of refrigerated vehicle have been worked out with the assistance of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security in consultation with the Mauritius Livestock and Marketing Co-operative Federation Ltd (MLMCF). Subsequently, tender documents for purchase of the vehicle were worked out and initiated. Tender would be allocated after an evaluation exercise. As indicated, arrangement was being made by the MLMCF with breeders for supplying milk to the Federation and marketing of the pasteurized milk with the shopkeepers, supermarkets and the Agricultural Marketing Board, which falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mauritius.

Initiatives for Commercial Breadfruit Production January 2017, Sri Lanka

The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has submitted the project proposal on above titled theme for AARDO's financial assistance during November 2016. 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.
Considering importance of the project, an amount of US $40,000 was approved by AARDO and accordingly, the first installment of US$20,000 was released during April 2017 for the implementation of the project.

The Department of Agriculture, Fruit Research and Development Institute, Food Research Unit, Institute of Post-Harvest Technology and Lanka Association of Breadfruit is implementing the project. Overall responsibility and the management will rest with the Sri Lanka Bred Association, under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is envisaged that 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 a one –hectare plantation of breadfruit for processing to breadfruit flour will generate sustainable, annual revenue of about US $20,000 – from the seventh year after planting, and for the 50–70 years to follow, with very little maintenance.

The implementation of the project was being regularly followed up with the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

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

The project 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 were 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 food security at household levels.
An amount of US $40,000 was approved by AARDO for the implementation of the project. However, the implementation of the project was 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, the first installment of US $20,000 was released on 20th June 2014 for the implementation of the project.

imageIn August 2017, the Regional Office of AARDO for Southern Africa has submitted the final progress report of the project along with account of expenditure. As indicated, the construction work of the project has been completed successfully and accordingly, the second and final installment of US$20,000 of AARDO's grant has been approved to be released for completion of the project. The implementation of the project was regularly followed up by the Regional Office of AARDO for Southern Africa, Lusaka, Zambia.