- 30 September, 2016: Government has always attached great importance to the sugarcane industry and has all the time taken appropriate actions and brought necessary reforms to enable the sector meet the different challenges that have arisen over the years. Our major concern remains, however, the survival of this industry and the well-being of all partners, particularly the most vulnerable, that is small planters and workers.
This statement was made by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun, at the Annual General Meeting of the Sugar Syndicate held yesterday at Le Labourdonnais Hotel, Port Louis.
The Minister emphasised that the sugarcane industry has kept itself out of the difficulties it has had to face thanks to the exemplary cooperation and understanding between all stakeholders. Compared to the previous years, the reverse movement on the European market has established the prices of sugar for 2016 and 2017 to be rather close to Rs 15 000 a tonne, he underlined, adding that nevertheless according to the Landell Mills Report, it is expected that unfortunately another price cut could be expected in 2018 and after due to new market conditions.
He recalled that following the Landell Mills Report, Government has taken necessary measures, to mitigate losses of producers. One of them is the setting up of a Sugar Cane Sustainability Fund since the beginning of the year. Under this Fund, a planter producing up to 60 tonnes of sugar is eligible for compensation of Rs 1 100 per tonne of sugar. The compensation payable to planters producing more than 60 tonnes of sugar is Rs 300 per tonne.
Other measures include the payment of a special compensation of Rs 2 000 per tonne of sugar to all producers who are insured at the Sugar Insurance Fund and an exemption from payment of the insurance premium in 2015 by planters producing up to 60 tonnes of sugar. This is to be funded by Government and a sum of Rs 50 million has been budgeted for this purpose.
Mr Seeruttun also announced that as per the recommendations of the Landell Mills Report, amendments have to be brought to the law for the implementation of some measures. In this context, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security has worked on a Bill which is being finalised at the State Law Office. It will be presented to the National Assembly by the end of this year, he said.
The Bill will bring amendments to the Sugar Industry Efficiency Act so as to promote the sustainable development of the sugarcane industry and ensure that some 50 000 hectares of land are kept under sugarcane cultivation for the production of at least 400 000 tonnes of sugar annually. Other amendments will focus on: the creation of a legal framework to facilitate the operation of the Sugar Cane Sustainability Fund; the introduction of quality standards that will apply to refined sugar both imported and locally produced; and the establishment of an Agro-Industry Framework for sugar, amongst others.
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