– 19 October 2016:
A workshop on organic agriculture legislation, under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) sponsored project Support for the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building in Mauritius,
opened this morning at La Canelle, Domaine Les Pailles.
Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun stated that this project aims at strengthening national capabilities on organic agriculture in Mauritius, proposing amendments to legislation, drafting relevant regulations, preparing strategic development plans, developing training manuals and delivering trainings.
He stressed that under the legal aspect, currently there is no specific legislation in Mauritius that covers organic farming or marketing. Therefore, under this project, along with the drafting of a legislation on organic farming, a number of other related legislations, such as the Dangerous Chemicals Control Act, the Chemical Fertilisers Act and even the Seeds Act among others will need to be amended.
To kick start the drafting process, and in line with the FAO`s participative approach, today`s workshop is being organised for relevant stakeholders to learn about the good international legal practices regarding organic agriculture. Tomorrow, a technical working group meeting will focus on the drafting process, under the guidance of the FAO International Consultant on Organic Agriculture legislation, Ms Amanda Heyman.
Linking the workshop with the theme of World Food day (Climate is changing, Food and Agriculture must too), Minister Seeruttun stated that organic farming has been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective means to confront the effects of climate change in agriculture
The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security is implementing the Technical Cooperation Programme Support for the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building in Mauritius over two years (2015-2016), with a budget of USD 352 000 from the FAO.
The project is in line with Government`s commitment towards support to sustainable agricultural development and safe food production for local market and increase export potential as well as diminishing high reliance on chemical inputs, Mr Seeruttun underlined.
The FAO sponsored project will contribute towards strengthening national capabilities on organic agriculture in Mauritius through the development of legal and institutional framework to support organic production management; proposed institutional set up for the establishment of accredited inspection and certification system for organic agriculture; build capacity of researchers, technicians, agricultural extensionists, farmers, NGOs and the private sector in organic agriculture; and development of a national strategy and action plan to promote the production and support marketing of organic produce, amongst others.
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