Value addition/ Creation of organic bio-stimulants for the agriculture industry using Sargassum seaweed which has an environmental, economic and social impact in a poor region of Saint Lucia.

June 21, 2017

Saint Lucia Placeholder
Saint Lucia

Value addition/ Creation of organic bio-stimulants for the agriculture industry using Sargassum seaweed which has an environmental, economic and social impact in a poor region of Saint Lucia.

About the Implementing organization

Name: Saint Lucia Fisher Folk Cooperative Society Ltd

Country: Saint Lucia

Year of establishment: 2006

Type of organization: Cooperative business

Description

Value addition/Creation of organic bio-stimulants for the agriculture industry: The collected Sargassum seaweed is forwarded to the processing facility for conversion into a range of organic bio-stimulants for the agriculture industry.

Reducing synthetic pesticides and fertilizer use in the St. Lucian Agriculture Industry: One of these products, the Algas Total Plant Tonic, has been tested by an independent ISO 9000 laboratory, as well as a research and development firm, which confirmed its efficacy. The research has proven that the product influences root traits (tertiary/fine root development) thereby improving plants uptake of nutrients and water. This translates into huge savings on fertilizer and irrigation for farmers, particularly in low-income faring communities.

Reduction in agricultural run-off and environmental pollution: The use of Algas products will reduce the use of inorganic inputs in agriculture, and therefore improve the health of soils and ultimately contribute to environmental health as well as Food and Nutritional Security.

Employment: Fisherfolk and their families will be employed in the removal of Sargassum from the coast and will manage the production line at the processing factory. This economic benefit directly supplements the income of many households.

Nature Element

Coasts

Type of Action

Sustainable use / Pollution prevention, clean up / Invasive species / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Health / Renewable energy

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

      

Environmental Impacts

This project will significantly decrease the use of pesticides and toxic synthetic chemicals in the St. Lucian agriculture industry and replace them with an effective bio-stimulant. Already, the product is supplying 10% of the Saint Lucian market and with its efficacy recently proven by an independent laboratory and the increasing number of farmers using the product, we expect a further increase in market share as soon as the processing plant is established and solarized. This project will have the following environmental impacts: (i) decrease in toxic chemicals in terrestrial and coastal marine ecosystems; (ii) improvement in soil fertility (microbial activity); (iii) protection of wildlife; (iv) increase in the presence of pollinators (e.g. bees); and (v) improvement in the health of farmers (a link has been established between the rate of prostate cancer in Martinique and the use of toxic chemicals in the banana industry). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19287960

Sustainable Development Impacts

This project will have significant impacts as follows:

Jobs and Livelihoods: At full production, we expect to employ 6 full-time persons and 10 part time persons in Year 1, of which 80% will be women. This project will generate employment and decent work for the people of Dennery.

Food Security: This project will contribute to Food Security, but more particularly Nutritional Security, as it pertains to the reduction of toxic synthetic agro-inputs (pesticides) in the St. Lucian agriculture sector, resulting in healthy foods, healthy farmers, healthy consumers, and healthy environment.

Climate Action: Scientists have postulated that the intensification of Sargassum seaweed influxes is a result of increasing ocean temperatures. The project builds resilience and adaptive capacity of the community of Dennery to this climate-related challenge.

Scalability

Human health and environmental quality are inextricably linked, and as a result, as the market for healthy produce grows, we expect to emerge from the foothills of Bosque d'or to the national scale. An important advantage is the strategic location of the processing plant— close to the main highway which links the East Coast beaches to Castries, the capital city.

With the full establishment of the processing plant, production will increase to meet national demand. Within two years we are also expecting to begin export to other islands in the Caribbean and the world (e.g. West Africa,), which would necessitate the up-scaling of production and the possible establishment of a network of depots in each of the affected areas along St. Lucia’s east coast.

Replicability

This project is being carefully documented as part of the GEF SGP UNDP program and the lessons learned (not the intellectual property) will be shared through publications and presentations. We expect that the existing tripartite partnership for success, which involves three organizations, with strong and growing community links and ownership, will be emulated by young persons and budding entrepreneurs. The Saint Lucia Fishers Folk Cooperative Society, Mr. Dujon and the GEF SGP UNDP program have also committed to continuing mentoring young persons. We affirm that this action could be replicated in other countries through a partnership with Algas Organics and NGOs, private sector entities or governments of affected countries, to execute this successful model.

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