Mauritius: The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security organized, today, an exhibition in the context of World Food Day 2022 at the Farmers Service Centre in Saint Pierre. Institutions, namely the Small Farmers’ Welfare Fund, the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, the Agricultural Services, the Forestry Services and the Agricultural Marketing Board, participated in this fair.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, the Senior Chief Executive (SCE) of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Medha Gunputh, and other personalities were present on occasion.
At the outset, the Vice-Prime Minister commended the special effort put in by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security to encourage the population to cultivate the land and produce food sustainably.
Furthermore, she emphasized that it is essential to feed ourselves in a healthy and safe way, and in this context, underpinned the need to encourage and engage the youth and coming generations in farming. “I am pleased to notice through this exhibition the number of young children who are keen to learn how to prepare seeds and plant,” she said.
She further recalled that recently the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security has been promoting the use of bio-farming, aligned with the principles of agroecology and requiring no agrochemicals as it relies on natural inputs such as cow dung and urine.
Both Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun and SCE Gunputh appealed to the population, in particular farmers, to adopt innovative and sustainable approaches such as bio farming, not only in a bid to increase productivity but also to enhance the quality of life of the population through the provision of safe and healthy agricultural products.
According to Mr Gunputh, natural farming, the Jeevamrutram, promotes agricultural practices that would protect the health of both planters and consumers and boost crop yields through the use of non-synthetic inputs. He also observed that Government has always placed the agro-industry sector as its number one priority with the aim of achieving national food security, contributing at the same time to economic growth and the creation of jobs.
On this score, he outlined several measures in Budget 2022/23 to boost local production of food, such as the provision of a grant of 50 percent, up to a maximum of Rs 500 000 for the purchase of a sheltered structure; the introduction of more subsidies for the purchase of liquid fertilizers and composts manufactured locally and; encouraging the production of Jeevamrutam (Natural farming) with a view of establishing a local industry for the production of fertilizers thereby reducing the dependency of the country on imported fertilizers.
SCE Gunputh also spoke about the Planters’ Protection Scheme (PPS) and a Breeders’ Protection Scheme (BPS), which will be operated under the Farmers’ Protection Scheme (FPS) in order to protect the investment of farmers and stabilize their revenues hence ensuring their sustainability and promote national food security.
The PPS, he recalled, was approved by the Cabinet on 27 May 2022 and funding to the tune of Rs10 million has been provided in the Budget 2022/23 for its operation. The PPS will be extended for small registered vegetables, fruits, flowers, tea and sheltered farming growers only due to non-manageable risks, including natural calamities such as drought, excessive rainfall & cyclones for crops.
The BPS, for its part, was approved by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security on 02 September 2022 on a pilot basis for small registered breeders rearing cattle only.
World Food Day.
World Food Day is celebrated globally every year on 16 October to promote global awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and to highlight the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
The theme chosen this year by the Food and Agriculture Organization is “Leave no one behind”. This theme is justified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and global warming causing a rise in prices and international tensions, which is affecting global Food Security. The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, for its part, has retained the theme “Safe Food for a Healthy Tomorrow”.