Helping Futures in Madagascar
In a small remote village, surrounded by estuaries and rivers in the north west of Madagascar, is the Besakoa farm. This farm, located in the desert, is where we source our delicious Madagascan Tiger Prawns.
This may be a surprising location, but we believe that these prawns are the tastiest on the market and we value the sincerity of the farm’s ethical impact. This farm is run by the Unima group, who share our values of seafood sustainability, but also care greatly for the environment, local wildlife, and the community.
In fact, the construction and running of this farm has helped futures of many local Madagascans and their families. This farm started in 1991 and had a vision to achieve sustainable farming of prawns. When construction started in the area, there was near to nothing – just some huts built by local inhabitants.
Following the development of Unima in the area, a whole community has benefitted.
“In one of the poorest countries in the world, one can still achieve remarkable actions with energy, getting men and women together and through meaningful actions”
Amyne Ismail, General Manager of the Unima Group
The Employees of Unima
The project has had a profound impact on the lives of its employees. For many of the employees, Unima offered their first involvement in a modern economic system. At least 80% of the workers had never received a wage prior to working with Unima. Unima also transferred 50% of their land to the employees so that they could build their own houses. Alongside this, Unima offered zero interest loans to cover any construction costs.
With the prospect of employment and the benefits alongside, many more came to the area. This helped the community grow, now with a population of 4,000 and 700 houses. The company helps many needs of this community, particularly with health and education.
Benefitting the local community
Unima has constructed many buildings including a healthcare clinic that offers maternity services, basic surgery, dentistry, appointment rooms, and multiple small wards. The community can receive consultations, medicine, vaccinations, and education in disease prevention. For the local community, there is a minimal cost and all healthcare costs of Unima employees are subsidised. The company always tries to ensure the best health of their employees by providing annual medical screenings and health checks if anyone is ill for more than 2 weeks.
Education is incredibly important to the Unima Group. There has been development of many schools within the area and they continually contribute. The village now has 1 private catholic school (with 700 students and 16 teachers) and a public school for 6-11 year olds (with 300 students). Unima also contributes to teachers’ wages and aids the finance of teacher training. Education has helped local Madagascans in many different ways, including their literacy rate with a library. This library was build by Unima and features 1200 people on the library lists, 2/3rds of which are children.
Development of the area
There have been many improvements to the area to encourage better living conditions for all to live. Clean water is supplied to the village by Unima’s water purification plant with 42 tap sites established in the village. Electricity has also been secured with the village due to Unima’s partnership with FDM Electricity.
The project’s contribution to the infrastructure to the area has including around $2million worth or roads, utilities, communications, housing, and amenities. The Unima Group has built their company on a philosophy of care and understanding of the people involved. Their continuing support for employees and locals has encouraged a village to flourish and people to develop.