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The Attorney General, minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Maneesh Gobin has said that the Mauritius Government still encourages local food production through natural means
He made this statement following the launch of the Small Farmers Welfare Fund (SFWF) of the Subsidy on Agricultural Mechanisation, and the implementation of the enhanced Heifer Productivity Incentive Scheme, at Plaine des Papayes Multipurpose Complex. Gobin added that there’s lesser pesticides and chemical products involved through the natural way and that the government and will continue to provide subsidies to small food crop growers and farmers.
The Parliamentary private secretary Rajanah Dhaliah, the manager of the SFWF, Roopesh Bheekarry, and other personalities were also present on this occasion.
Gobin informed that the cash grant payable to breeders under the Heifer Productivity Incentive Scheme has increased from US$57.21 to US$171.64 per calf. The grant is payable for each calf that the breeder has successfully bred up to three months, for a maximum of 30 weaned calves per year. A grant of US$11,442.93 has also been provided in Budget 2021-22 to operate the incentive for Milk Production Scheme.
The minister said that these two schemes are meant for all cow breeders and aim at encouraging breeders to take better care of their animals, hence mitigating mortality rate and are in line with the policy of boosting milk and meat production.
He also spoke about agro-processing, which is another priority of the government. He observed that mozzarella is produced locally, and this knowhow is transmitted to breeders through training centres at Mapou and Curepipe.
The Agro-Industry minister also dwelt on how breeders and planters can operate in symbiosis, as the planters can use natural products, obtained from breeders, as fertilisers. He added that these natural products, which will contribute to the ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ project, were also distributed to planters.
As far as the subsidy on agricultural mechanisation is concerned, it is recalled that funding, amounting to US$1.14mn, has been provided in Budget 2021-22 to operate a subsidy scheme on land mechanisation. The aim is to facilitate the access of small planters to mechanisation facilities to enable the rapid transition to a more capital-intensive agricultural production system so as to address major challenges, such as shortage of labour. This will ensure the sustainability of agricultural businesses; improve farmers’ productivity, agricultural production and revenues; and foster national food security.
Planters would be eligible for US$34.35 per arpent for only one crop cycle, for a maximum of five arpents of land, on a first come first serve basis. The SFWF will resort to a Registration of Potential Suppliers (open advertisement) to request suppliers of agricultural mechanisation services around the island to provide their best fixed rates for the different operations for a one-year period.