IOT is a Malagasy company specialized in the breeding and export of sea cucumbers. Local fishermen are associated with its activities, allowing them to generate additional income. The company actively contributes to preserving marine wildlife & fighting against overfishing.
IOT breeds sea cucumbers, an endangered species. With a team of Malagasy scientists, the company has developed an exclusive growing technique. Sufficiently mature, larvae are sold at cheap price to neighboring fishermen who raise them to maturity, before re-selling them at good price to IOT to be dried, packed and exported. Established in South of Madagascar, one of the poorest and most isolated regions of the country, IOT pursues a twofold objective: preserve marine wildlife and improve living conditions of local fishermen. In six years, the company created 185 jobs, 76 of them on a permanent basis. Its activities are complementary with Copefrito, a company that fishes squid and calmari, founded by Jaco Chan Kit Waye in 1995.
Co-founder and executive director of IOT, Jaco Chan Kit Waye has long been involved in entrepreneurship. He created and managed a company specialized in the octopus and squid industry, before funding IOT in association with a local partner and a team of university researchers. Deeply committed to social and environmental issues, he launched the first natural resources management site of Madagascar, in cooperation with local fisherman and several NGOs. In 2006, Jaco is appointed “manager of the year” of Malagasy SMEs.
Why is it important ?
In Madagascar, 75% of the population suffer from dietary deficiency. The south of the island is one of the poorest and most isolated regions : more than 92% of the population live on less than $2 a day and 68% on less than $1.25 a day. The population has doubled in 15 years, going from 12 million inhabitants in 1989 to 23 million in 2014. The World Bank estimates that deteriorating environment costs roughly 10% of the country’s annual GDP, ie $500 million. The sea cucumber has been put on the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In Madagascar, the fishing of sea cucumbers, despite being regulated, is overexploited due to the presence of hundreds of poachers.
Impact matrix and analyzes
Before each reportage, we perform an impact analysis of the activity of each small company using an impact identification matrix designed by the project experts. This is done in close collaboration with the company CEO. The nature of the impacts identified (economical, social, quality of life etc) as well as the stakeholders involved (clients, employees, competitors etc) in the company ecosystem are scanned. The content of the completed matrix is then used as underlying themes for the photo/video shooting and interviews once in Africa.
IMPACT #1 / Preserve the environment
Sea cucumbers have no adverse impact on their environment as they feed filtering the water and do not need any antibiotic. They are in fact very useful for renewing the oxygen levels of the ocean. Besides, this activity a replacement income for local fishermen and therefore tends to limit the risk of overfishing.
IMPACT #2 / Generate additional income
The partnership that IOT has established with rural villages currently benefits 30 families and should soon reach 150 families. Each of these families can generate an extra 40 euros per month through this activity, which represents the average income in Madagascar. A farmer was for example able to buy 6 chairs, 3 goats and pay for the schooling of her daughter, a year after starting working for IOT.
IMPACT #3 / Job creation
IOT hired 51 people under unlimited-term contracts and employs about 135 seasonal workers. These people live in rural areas, where jobs opportunities and formal jobs are few. This activity allows them to stabilize their income and therefore start to invest or save some money.
IMPACT #4 / Improve quality of life
IOT offers training to fishermen to help them manage the additional income. The company finances as well the presence of a military man to secure the villages, mobile phones for the mayors and four drinking water wells.
IMPACT #5 / Ensure better working conditions
Employees are provided with free transportation and a canteen. They benefit from health care services for them and their families. 24 of them have completed training in aquaculture.