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Budget 2017-2018 Highlights: Boosting the agricultural sector

Date: June 16, 2017
Domain:Agriculture and Food Security
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen
 

GIS - 16 June, 2017: Budget 2017-2018 gives a new impetus to the agricultural sector in terms of better productivity of land resources, increased exports and production of locally cultivable food crops and livestock products through farm modernisation and more sustainable practices.

Focus is also on the preservation of forests and biodiversity resources for their ecotourism potential, improving the national food security level, by maintaining self-sufficiency in locally produced foodstuffs with less agro-chemicals and the setting up of a Bio-Technology Institute.
Major measures earmarked are:

Provision of Rs 50 million to address issue of abandonment of cane lands

Introduction and adoption of drone technology in agriculture, assessment and monitoring of crop performance

Increasing competitiveness of sugarcane industry, through a more aggressive marketing strategy in the existing EU markets and African regional markets

Developing derived products such as ethanol

Exploitation of biomass such as cane trash and woodchips by the Independent Power Producers

Waiving of registration duty on leases of agricultural lands of up to 10 hectares

VAT refund for replacement of old lorries used for carrying harvested canes

Increase of 6 % of final price for green tea leaves supplied to tea manufacturers as from the current crop 2016/17

Excise duty exemption on purchase of a single/double space cabin vehicle for tea growers and VAT refund on specified equipment and tools used in tea cultivation

Exemption of a Building & Land Use Permit for greenhouses on agricultural land

Food crops planters to benefit from Small and Medium Enterprises scheme by MauBank and other commercial banks

Loans to assist planters with crops damaged by climatic conditions, pests and diseases

Subsidy on CCTV cameras with video surveillance system to enable planters protect their fields from theft

Promoting modern eco-friendly farming practices and technologies with Hybrid crop varieties and Hydroponics

Entrepreneurship programmes to attract educated youth to agri-business

Reforestation programmes for preservation of 47 000 hectares of forests and natural parks
Budget 2017-2018 also provides for financing all costs associated with registration, certification and audit for holders of a Bio-farming Development Certificate, wishing to acquire the international organic label for their farm produce. Registered growers to benefit from subsidise bio-pesticides.
For the non-sugar agriculture, provision is made for the diversification of the export market with Macadamia plantations as a new export niche. Funds will be made available for importation of Macadamia seeds, setting up of nursery facilities and foreign consultancy assistance in the propagation of Macadamia trees.
Projects outlined for livestock sector comprise:

Rehabilitation and upgrading of farm buildings and associated infrastructure at the Government sheep farm at Salazie

A National Biosecurity Plan and a contingency plan to deal with risks of animal diseases

Review of Veterinary Services and the Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare for more proactive services

24x7 Veterinary Services and recruitments of additional vets to respond to demands of breeders, especially at night

Upgrading waste treatment facility at St Martin with an initial amount of Rs 5 million

Setting up of an animal control unit and welfare unit review functions of the Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare
 
The Development Bank of Mauritius will write off outstanding balances on farmers loans for hardship cases. Loan repayment period will be extended for other cases. This measure will be extended to all planters, breeders and fishermen who have contracted start-up loans prior to 1st July 2012 under certain schemes.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org
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