Solar Powered Herbal Tea Production
1.1 Project Summary
Following successful project funded under the GEF Small Grant programme and the British High Commission in 2006, MAR/SGP/OP3/22, APEDED has been able to set up a herbal and medicinal tea business at its centre in Chemin Grenier. The expansion of this SME is now an important step towards increasing the income of the 20 women who are involved in the association.
“Secret Grand-Mère”, (Grandma’ Secrets) are some 15 herbal teas prepared from medicinal plants by 20 mothers of disadvantaged children who are given free pre-primary education by the Non-Governmental Organisation, APEDED. This project has also received technical support from the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit of the Ministry of Agro-Industry. The project was initiated in order to help poor women from low-income families overcome financial challenges. The women were trained in the understanding, cultivating and caring of the medicinal plants in a small nursery that was set up on the roof of the pre-primary school.
After, the success of this project, APEDED is proposing to build an extra floor on top of the centre where currently the green house is set up. This green house activity will be moved to another plot of land. APEDED has been granted by the Central Electricity Board (CEB), the permission to produce its own electricity through the Small Independent Power Producers Scheme of the Government of Mauritius. The actual consumption of electricity is around 230 kw per month and it is predicted that after installation of the expanded facility, consumption of electricity will be around 600 kw per month. Subsequently, a request is being made to GEF SGP for the funding of the Renewable Energy Project.
APEDED has been motivated to engage in its own production of electricity following site visits carried out by engineers from different companies of photovoltaic energy production. They informed that the area and the place are very appropriate for the production of electricity through solar panels. APEDED will look for quotations from three companies. The contract will be allocated after approval from the Board Members of APEDED and the National Coordinator of GEF SGP.
This project will be beneficial to the organisation as it will enable the organisation to save in terms of electricity cost as well as to gain by selling the energy to the Central Electricity Board (CEB).
1.1.1 Full justification of project:
Through B to B forum organised by SMEDA and Enterprise Mauritius, APEDED has succeeded in obtaining export ventures. We are actually exporting our herbal tea to Reunion Island and China. There has been an increase in our production. Moreover, we will be participating in a B 2 B meeting in France during the Salon International de L' Agro alimentaire (SIAL) Trade Fair this year in October 2012 and in South Africa next year. We are expecting more customers.
We are currently producing 1000 packets per month. Our production requirement is around 8,000 packets per month and we have the capacity to do so. There is a need to move the production of herbal tea due to lack of space and increase in order. The green house will be moved and enlarged. Our production of herbal tea will be moved to the first floor, which we intend to build and which will also partly be used for youth empowerment and Capacity Building activities.
Using our own renewable energy will reduce our cost of production as most of our production activities require electricity. The extra energy produced will be sold back to the CEB. According to the contractors, there is possibility to sell the extra energy for an average of Rs 325,000 every year (US $ 10,708.40, at Sept 2012 UN Rate of Exchange of 30.35).
Climate Change Mitigation: Primary Focal Area
The photovoltaic process is environmental friendly. Solar energy is a clean, renewable and it is a sustainable source of power. It does not pollute the air, the land and the environment and hence prevents global warming. It is usually produced only on an 'as needed' basis and therefore there is no need to store large amounts of power in generators. It does not produce any by products or chemical emissions hence it is not harmful to our health.
Biodiversity Conservation: Secondary Focal Area
Our project conserves and uses plants which are endemic on nature and which form part of the traditional healing knowledge.
1.1.3 Low Maintenance
Once the solar panels are installed, there will be very minor maintenance because they operate silently and they have no moving parts. According to the engineers once they are installed they can work effectively for years. Hence, there will be no maintenance and recurring costs. There is a guarantee of 25 years.
1.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the project
“Association Pour L’Education Des Enfants Defavorisés (APEDED)” is a registered benevolent NGO formed in 1996 which works for needy/ neglected children in different regions around the island. We provide access to education and basic life skills to around 200 children at pre-primary level. Moreover, the Association organizes follow up classes for primary children of Std. 4 to 6 at the centre which is situated at Chemin Grenier. We also provide books and school materials to needy children attending secondary schools in different regions. Medical facilities and other extra curriculum activities are also provided to them.
In the year 2007: After a survey about the situation of women (mothers’ whose children are in our centre), we set up a “green house” for medicinal plants cultivation – an income generating and women empowerment project for 20 deprived women at our centre in Chemin Grenier village. This successful project was funded by GEF/SGP/UNDP and is generating an income of Rs 2,000. per woman per month
APEDED is a community based organization, affiliated to Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS), the National Economic and Social Council NESC and other international bodies. The main sources of funding are: donors, fund raising, CSR and sponsorships.
Our Objectives: To reduce the level of poverty by providing education and life skills awareness at grass root level.
Our achievement till date:
• 100 – 150 needy / neglected children join pre-primary schools every year free of charge.
• 30 neglected children are being monitored and coached every year and out of 10, 6 succeed in their CPE exams.
• Over 50% of children under our care got admission in state colleges.
• 25 needy colleges students get their books / school materials every year.
• 6 of our students are HSC holders and they are helping us in our follow up
classes for our small children of primary schools on a part time basis.
• 60 needy / neglected children in Rodrigues island have been admitted in pre-
primary schools under the funding of the DCP.
• 30 school drop outs children are having art & culture activities such as music, theatre, dance and painting classes.
• 20 women are having an income through sales of herbal and medicinal plants from income generating project funded by GEF/SGP.
• Sensitization/awareness campaign on cultivation and propagation of medicinal plants around Mauritius funded by GEF/SGP.
1.3 Project Objectives and Expected Results
The objectives of the project
(i) To produce our own electricity
(ii) To reduce the cost of production of Herbal tea.
(iii) To acquire income by selling the extra energy to the CEB
(iv) To increase our production of herbal teas
? The tisane processing project for medicinal plants consumes a high rate of electricity as the dehydrator runs for 8 eight hours daily for the whole week. There is also a need for another dehydrator as the production is increasing day by day due to greater orders from buyers. Then actual electricity consumption is high and thus reducing our profit margin. Producing our own electricity will reduce our cost. This will enable these women to have an increased income.
? Moreover, sales of electricity to the Central Electricity Board, will enable us to have another means of income. This will help us in the running of our centre and for sustainability. The income would be used for other social activities carried out by APEDED at our centre (alleviation of poverty).
? This is a pilot project that APEDED is ready to handle. Upon it success our organisation will motivate other NGOs to engage in such social entrepreneurship activities. Everyone can be a change maker and it is possible to serve and earn as well.
? We are convinced that by the end of the project, we will be sensitizing the community at large about the benefits of solar energy and we may in 10 years have a good majority of the community producing their own electricity. We will thus succeed in contributing in the sensitisation campaign about climate change, gender and poverty alleviation.