Hardship brings innovation, sadly for Seychelles sometimes it is not innovations which is lacking, but a need to go back to our old ways of doing things and taking pride and ripping the maximum value from our traditional practices. The Seychelles National Park Authority (SNPA) is one organization who had felt the full impact of COVID-19. The organization who generates over 95% of its revenue from tourism is finding it very hard to operate on a daily basis. There is a real need to diversify products and services SNPA offers but Tourism will continue to remain the main earner of the organization.

Harvesting of the invasive plant in Veuve Reserve

Who would have thought that part of the solution to our current problem would come from our past. Indeed SNPA is keen to assist local business in finding new ways to move ahead, in doing so cutting down on importation and saving our precious little foreign exchange. SNPA also expect to benefit financially or in other non-monetary ways in doing so.

Long ago people used to feed animals with whatever they harvested from nature and from home leftovers. It was common practice for pigs to be fed on fallen fruits, grass, pounac and Vya for examples. The ‘Vya’ was boiled before being given to the animals and is apparently nutrient rich. Well ‘Vya’ is back!

The SNPA is currently implementing a scheme to provide Vya to a local farmer on La Digue for animal feed. The farmer is allow to harvest Vya from the Veuve Reserve for free, but under close supervision.  Vya is a confirmed Invasive species, so its removal is assisting SNPA with its restoration work of the Reserve. This is a win-win situation but in the process the farmer has cut down on his use of imported animal feed, which in turn benefits the country.

The SNPA is also finalizing a second scheme, this time for Charcoal burning. This activity also used to be popular in Seychelles but now a significant proportion of the charcoal or charcoal related products we use is imported. The SNPA is finalizing sites and conditions under which this business can operate in areas it manages. The SNPA again intents to promote local industry and cut down on importation.  For SNPA the benefits are expected to be two- fold; to earn some financial income and to utilize timber that would otherwise go to waste.

The SNPA is not expecting to make significant income from these activities. The Organisation however is happy to do its part to assist local business, cut down on importation and why not promote cultural practices which are sound and sustainable.

 

 The tuber that is fed to the pigs