GIS – 27 February, 2020: Title deeds were presented to 27 ex-employees of former sugar estates of Mon Loisir and Beau Champ, yesterday afternoon, during a ceremony held at the Club House of Alteo, in Union Flacq. The event was organised by Alteo Milling Ltd. The Attorney General and Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, Alteo’s CEO, Mr André Bonieux, and Alteo’s board members were present.
Each beneficiary has been allocated a plot of land based on a Blue Print which was elaborated following the closure of Mon Loisir and Beau Champ sugar estates in 2012 and 2014 respectively. The land allocated varies between 10 to 16 perches and are located in the regions of La Clémence, Rivières-des-Créoles and L’Amitié. In addition, beneficiaries can avail of several infrastructure namely: roads, access to water and electricity and playgrounds and green spaces.
In his address, Minister Gobin, encouraged beneficiaries to take good care of their newly acquired land. He pointed out that a lot of work has been put in to ensure that beneficiaries receive the title deeds of their land despite several administrative-related issues that have cropped up in the process. Government has set up an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, to fast-track the procedure and find solutions not only to such bottlenecks that may arise but also to address topographic problems that have cropped up on certain sites, he indicated.
The Minister also spoke about the need for reform in the sugar sector including biomass, controlling the use of pesticides and opting for bio-friendly alternatives as well as reforms in the livestock sector, the crop industry and the tea sector. He further indicated that work with experts from the World Bank on the sugar industry had started in 2019, and that the World Bank’s report on the sector will certainly shed light on the way forward to address the concerns and expectations of this sector’s players.
As regards the tea sector, Mr Gobin stated that Mauritius has fertile land for the cultivation of tea and this particular segment has a viable market that can be exploited. Moreover, the agriculture sector of Mauritius has a promising future and, with the adequate investments, our country can become competitive in the region, he added.
For his part, the CEO of Alteo, Mr André Bonieux, congratulated the beneficiaries for the acquisition of land and highlighted that they truly deserve to become owners of their plot of land given that they have toiled hard to reach where they are now. Land value grows yearly, he pointed out, thus the need for the new owners to safeguard their acquisition well.
Mr Bonieux also thanked Government, District Councils, the Road Development Authority and other stakeholders for having worked collaboratively with Alteo on this particular project. He expressed hope that other projects in the pipeline will be finalised soon. As regards the sugar industry, he recognized, that the sector is going through a difficult phase and lauded Government’s initiative for having requested a study to be effected by the World Bank in that regard.
Alteo has owned and operated the Union Flacq Factory since 1912. The business owns 15,300 hectares of prime agricultural land in eastern Mauritius, of which 11,000 hectares are planted with sugarcane. Most of the sugar produced is exported.
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