GIS - October 02, 2012: It is recognised worldwide that research and development is an essential pillar for the success of any industry, including agriculture and agro-industry, said the Minister of Agro Industry and Food Security, Mr S. Faugoo, outlining that the Green Revolution in many countries would not have been possible without the support and contribution of research.
In his address yesterday at the opening of the Mid term Workshop of the ACP Sugar Research Programme held at MSIRI, Réduit, the Minister recalled that Research is now considered as an investment and there are several examples where the adoption of new varieties and technologies has produced dramatic yield increases even on a lesser cultivated area. He expressed his satisfaction that due consideration was given to Research & Development when the sugar sector in the ACP Sugar Protocol countries was hit with the unprecedented measures associated with the EU sugar regime.
Some 30 foreign delegates from 14 different countries are attending this four-day workshop. The ACP Sugar Research Programme has been formulated in a very special context so as to deal with the dramatic challenges when the price of sugar was reduced by 36 %. The European Commission proposed various accompanying measures to the tune of 1.2 billion Euros for Sugar Protocol countries that were affected by EU sugar reform although the loss in revenue stands around 2 billion Euros. The support measures aim amongst others at enhancing the competitiveness of the sugar sector and diversification of products.
The programme comprises 13 projects that cover three areas of research, namely breeding of cane varieties, cost reduction and milling loss minimization. The EU that is financing this programme to the tune of 13 million Euros and the implementation phase started in 2010 and the research activities are conducted at five centres of excellence. The Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute is one among the five centres. Furthermore eight out of the 13 projects are implemented under the responsibility of MSIRI.
In the course of the workshop delegates will have the opportunity to discuss the results of the programme and make recommendations thereon. Activities relating to the second part of the sugar research programme will also be presented and discussed. The workshop programme comprises a field visit.