Following the heavy rainfalls that have affected the local vegetable production since the beginning of January 2018, Mauritius will inevitably resort to importing from South Africa, India and Egypt.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, made this statement on 19 January 2018 during a press conference, following a meeting with officers from the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute and the Small Farmers Welfare Fund. As a first step, 170 tons of carrot, 50 tons of cabbage, 15 tons of cauliflower, and 30 tons of beans will be imported over several weeks so as to prevent shortage on the local market.
Minister Seeruttun highlighted that the meeting aimed at preparing a plan to help planters whose fields have been damaged. The final plan will be presented today at a Special Cabinet Meeting for approval. He pointed out that some 75 % of the local vegetable production was affected by the heavy rains and that it will take about three months for the situation to return to normal.
With regards to some 6 000 planters who have incurred net losses, it has been suggested that the Development Bank of Mauritius provides them with loans so that they can rehabilitate their fields and acquire quality seeds to restart the production of vegetables and promote the local agriculture, the Minister underscored. This financing plan, as announced in Budget speech 2017-2018, is in the process of being finalised, he added.
Mr Seeruttun also underlined that his Ministry is working on a new insurance plan which will be more attractive and will encourage more planters to benefit from it.