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Supply of rice, flour, potatoes and onions will be sustained states Minister Sawmynaden

Date: May 05, 2020
Domain:Consumer Protection; Health; Agriculture and Food Security
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen

GIS - 05 May, 2020: Available stocks of rice will last till July 2020 and the State Trading Corporation (STC) has already made the necessary for the delivery of  two consignments of rice from Pakistan which will last till September 2020. As for flour, available stocks will last for three and a half months.

This statement was made, today, by the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, at the National Assembly in reply to a Parliamentary Question pertaining to stocks of rice and flour available and the ne​xt shipments scheduled.


As regards basmati rice, the STC has a stock of 5 936 packs of five kg of rice available which will last till end of May 2020. Minister Sawmynaden indicated that two consignments of 75 metric tons of basmati rice in 20 kg packets and 175 metric tons in five kg packages have been sailed from Pakistan in April 2020 and are expected to arrive in Mauritius on 7 May 2020. These stocks, he added, will last till August/September 2020.

Stock of Potatoes and Onions

Concerning the stock of onions and potations available from the Agricultural Marketing board (AMB), the Attorney-General and Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, in reply to a Parliamentary Question, reassured the population that all necessary measures have been taken to ensure sustained supply of potatoes, onions and garlic to the population.

He underlined that at no point in time, there was a shortage of potatoes, onions or garlic. However, during the initial days of the confinement period, people had difficulty to buy these foodstuffs since the usual selling points were closed or distribution channels were disturbed, he said.

He informed the House that well before the confinement, the AMB had already planned to import potatoes and onions to consolidate its strategic stock pending the local harvest season which starts as from mid-July.  In the same context, private importers were also allocated quotas to import potatoes and onions, he said.

During the confinement period, the AMB received 3,163 tons of potatoes from Egypt and India and 2,212 tons Onions from Holland, South Africa and India.  In addition, some 2,742 tons of potatoes and 1,260 tons of onions are expected till 12 June 2020.

Local cultivation of potatoes has already started and the harvest is expected as from mid-July.  According to Mr Gobin, the present stock and incoming consignments for AMB as well as private importers will be more than sufficient until the start of the local harvest.  However, as far as onions is concerned, additional consignments will be ordered until the beginning of the harvest season, that is, from August.

He indicated that during the period 23 to 26 March, which was the beginning of the total confinement, had its inherent constraints. The sale of onions and potatoes during that period had initially declined due to the closure of market fairs and supermarkets. Consequently, dealers could not make normal deliveries to their respective retailers.  Normal supply was resumed as from 27 March 2020, he added.

Mr Gobin recalled that when normal delivery resumed, a few unscrupulous dealers resorted to hoarding and profiteering adding that immediate action was taken with the collaboration of the Consumer Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Protection as well as the Police.

Furthermore, the Consumer Protection (Price and Supplies Control) Act 1998 and the Consumer Protection (Control of Price of Taxable and Non-taxable Goods) Regulations 1998 were amended with effect from 23 March 2020 to fix the maximum retail price of onions and potatoes at Rs 40 per kg.

He indicated that some 20 contraventions have been established till date specifically concerning potatoes and onions while other contraventions were also established in view of other products.

The Minister further underlined that with a view to ensuring sustained and adequate supply of these commodities, the AMB decided to enlarge its circle of distribution by including hypermarkets/supermarkets, retail shops as well as online home delivery platforms. 

On the other hand, AMB resorted to directly supply hospitals and other public institutions. Moreover, AMB ensured free distribution of 5.5 tons of potatoes and onions and two tons of garlic to charitable institutions on two occasions.

He also made a comparison between weekly consumption of potatoes and onions during normal time and confinement. During normal time, the weekly consumption is around 400 tons of potatoes and 300 tons of onions.

During the confinement, the weekly supply of potatoes and onions are as follows:


a)    Week 30th March to 3rd April: 200 tons

b)    Week 6th to 10th April: 367 tons

c)    Week 13th to 17th April: 479 tons

d)    Week 20th to 24th April: 544 tons 


a)    Week 30th March to 3rd April: 275 tons

b)    Week 6th to 10th April: 423 tons

c)    Week 13th to 17th April: 538 tons

d)    Week 20th to 24th April: 697 tons

Speaking about the challenges encountered during the consignment period, Minister Gobin stated that it has been an opportunity for his Ministry to rethink the whole established processes and practices.  The AMB has re-engineered its processes based on new paradigms such as new supply system, new criteria for the registration, direct supply to hypermarkets/supermarkets, retail shops and online home delivery platforms, he pointed out.

He further added that with the opening of new AMB retail outlets across the island in the coming days, which is on or about the 15th of May, further re-engineered processes will be adopted such as cashless system with a view to ensuring better service to the population. AMB will also be prospecting supplies via the Ministry to direct negotiations with friendly countries, he concluded.

 Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email:  Website:  Mobile App: Search Gov

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