GIS - 09 November, 2016: Ninety–seven sugar cane planters of the factory area of former St Antoine Sugar Factory received cheques amounting to Rs 231,954 yesterday from the Saint Antoine Planters Co-operative Trust (SAPCT) at the Goodlands Social Welfare Centre. The ceremony was organised in collaboration with the Cooperatives Division of the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives.
The planters received the cheques under the following grant Schemes: Purchase of Sprayers, Purchase of Fertilisers and Cutting, Loading and Transport of Sugarcane.
The objectives of SAPCT are to receive and manage funds obtained from the Societé Usinière de Saint Antoine and from any other organisations and the government to provide loans to planters for agricultural activities.The Trust also devises and implements irrigation projects, provide assistance for harvest of sugar canes and acquisition of farm equipment. It provides support services to agricultural co-operative societies in which the planters are members and come up with schemes aimed at assisting planters to improve their level of production and efficiency.
On this occasion, the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah recalled that the SAPCT was set up in 1994 with the objective to assist sugar cane planters falling within the Factory Area of the Ex- Saint Antoine Sugar Factory who were in need of agricultural loans. He also highlighted the role played by Manilall Doctor in the early 1900s in the setting up of the first Coperative Society in Mauritius to overcome the hardships faced by the planters at that time in terms of funds and resources.
Minister Bholah added that the Mauritian sugar industry has witnessed constant evolution and planters have to adapt and keep pace with these changes to further promote the cultivation of sugarcane which has a bright future.
Fopr his part, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Kumar Gungah expressed gratitude to the community of planters for their contribution to our economy with their hard work and sacrifice despite the severe problems faced by them. The award of cheques is an initiative to ease their difficulties and an incentive for them to continue to progress in this industry, he added.
He recalled that the sugar industry is undeniably the main agricultural activity that later led to the expansion of agriculture as one of the backbone of the Mauritian economy. He also attributed the availability of fresh local vegetables to our local planters. He appealed to the youth to engage in agricultural activities so as to contribute to the economy of Mauritius.
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