Mauritius: Registered planters will benefit from free seedlings, compensation schemes, and subsidies in two weeks’ time to rehabilitate and restart their plantations, stated the Attorney-General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, following a site visit today, in the regions of Belle Mare and Trou d’Eau Douce, to take stock of damages in the fields, post cyclone Freddy and the recent heavy rainfall.
Minister Gobin was accompanied by the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo; the Parliamentary Private Secretary, Mr Anjiv Ramdhany; and other stakeholders.
In a statement, Minister Gobin said that a survey had been carried out across the country to gather information as regards the extent of damage caused to plantations adding that stem breakages, flower drops, water logging, and stress of plants were noted. According to the assessment, he indicated, crop damages varied on average from 25 to 90% depending on the region, fields’ topography, the type of crop, and the crop stages.
He enumerated several Governmental measures put in place so as to relieve planters of their losses and to enable them to restart their cultivation. They include: financial support; provision of a subsidy of Rs 3,000 per arpent up to a maximum of five arpents under the Subsidy on Agricultural Mechanisation Scheme; subsidy of 50% under the Fertiliser Subsidy Scheme, 60% under the Bio Farming Support Scheme and 75% under the Locally Produced Fertiliser Subsidy Scheme; Scheme for replacement of nets/plastics covers for sheltered farms; and loan facilities by the Development Bank of Mauritius to affected registered farmers at a preferential interest rate of not more than 3%.
The Minister reiterated his Ministry’s commitment, as well as that of the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute and the Agricultural Marketing Board, to help planters brave the difficult situation and bounce back.
Minister Maudhoo, for his part, underlined that the visits enabled the authorities to take cognizance of problems being encountered by farmers, including water shortage. Government, he emphasised, will come up with immediate, short, medium and long-term measures to support the planter’s community and the agricultural sector.