- 16 October, 2017:
A colloquium focusing on the evolution of agriculture in Mauritius opened this morning at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre in Bell Village in the presence of the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun.
The colloquium, an initiative of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, is organised in the context of celebrations marking World Food Day 2017. The themes elaborated are namely: the role of the Faculty of agriculture in meeting the needs of the agricultural sector; research and development on sugarcane for a sustainable industry; programme régional de sécurité alimentaire et nutritionelle 2017-2022; and the challenges and opportunities of the Mauritian Cane Industry.
In his address, Minister Seeruttun highlighted that the colloquium will help all stakeholders and participants present to take cognizance of the role of agriculture which has been the very essence of the economy. He further stated that Government agenda is focused on the goal of achieving food security and various measures and schemes are being devised in the 2017/2018 Budget that are geared towards sustaining the agriculture sector, increasing crop production and supporting small farmers.
Speaking about the Cane industry, he outlined that the sugarcane crop has played a prominent position in the Mauritian economy over the years since its introduction by the Dutch in the seventeenth century. Government, he underlined has made constant efforts to improve and maintain the economic viability of this industry. Its main goal is that the sugarcane industry produces at least 400 000 tons of sugar annually. He further pointed out that that the sugarcane industry is not solely concerned with the production of sugar but also contributes to the country’s economy, namely in the energy and environmental sectors with the production of bagasse and ethanol.
He reiterated that Government is providing several incentives to urge planters adopt organic farming with a view to decrease reliance on chemical inputs and improve the quality of local food production. The increased use of pesticides and insecticides causes harmful impacts on human health and the environment, he pointed out.
Furthermore, the Minister recalled that Mauritius is highly exposed to climate change that adversely affects farming activities and food production, resulting in risks of crop failure and food insecurity. On that score, he emphasised on the need of the Crop Insurance Scheme that aims at providing better support and assistance to planters whose crops are affected by natural calamities. The scheme which has been implemented on a pilot basis will be extended to a larger number of planters, as well as to breeders, he added. Minister Seeruttun also underpinned the importance of the development of livestock production to meet future challenges of achieving food and nutrition security
He stated that his Ministry is presently implementing the 2016-2020 strategic plans which include enhancing food and nutritional security; promoting food safety and sustainable production systems; and developing resilience to climate change amongst others.
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