Mauritius: Some 50 cooperatives received their letter of an award under four Grant Schemes, namely Boost to Local Production service; Zero Budget Natural Farming; Goat Farming; and Waste Recycling, as announced in Budget 2022-2023, amounting to some Rs 11 million, yesterday, during an award ceremony held at Maison des Helveurs in Henrietta.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, Member of Parliament, Ashley Ittoo, the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Louis Mario Movoisin, the President of Mauritius Cooperative Alliance (MCA) Ltd, Mardayah Kona Yerukunondu and other personalities were present.
In his address, Minister Bholah recalled that Budget 2022-2023 made provision for a sum of Rs 17 million for the implementation of aid plans for cooperatives to strengthen their capacities. The Ministry, he indicated, has been working relentlessly so that cooperative societies can benefit from the four Schemes at the earliest.
The objective of the grant schemes is to enable cooperatives to buy new machines and equipment to dynamise and boost their activities, transform the agri-food production industry, as well as promote circular movement of waste management, he pointed out.
The Minister said that the aid plans will undoubtedly give a new impetus to the cooperative movement and help them to bounce back, as the last two years were not easy for the sector due to COVID-19. They will also benefit from training through the Civil College to enhance their performance to better optimise and promote the cooperative movement, he stated.
Minister Bholah reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to continue to work on other support programmes for the sector to prosper. He expressed satisfaction as regards the progress of cooperative societies and expects the sector to become one of the main pillars of the Mauritian economy.
For his part, Mr Yerukunondu said that the MCA is responsible and working for the development and welfare of cooperative societies adding that several measures are being implemented to this end. He also observed that the sector is poised to become the backbone of the Mauritian economy, contributing to an increase in the Gross Domestic Product and employment while addressing challenges in protecting the environment in a more sustainable manner.
As for the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Mr Monvoisin, he indicated that these grant schemes will give a boost to cooperative societies by motivating them to embark on different cooperative movements, thus taking the industry to greater heights.
The four Grant Schemes
Under the Waste Recycling Scheme, cooperatives will benefit from a grant of up to Rs 500,000 for the purchase of recycling equipment and purchase of a vehicle provided that the cooperative society is engaged in recycling activities or if the vehicle has a “waste carrier” permitted under the Local Government (Dumping and Waste Carriers) Regulations 2021.
As for the Boost to Local Production Scheme, a maximum of Rs 250,000 will be provided for the purchase of equipment, machine, and livestock.
Beneficiaries will receive up to a maximum of Rs 200,000, under the Goat Farming Scheme, for the purchase of goats and the construction of sheds.
An amount of Rs 100,000 will be provided to cooperatives for the purchase of cows and construction of cow sheds under the Zero Budget Natural Farming Scheme.