The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun, launched the Land Mechanisation Support Scheme yesterday at La Brasserie Road, La Marie, in the presence of the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, and other eminent personalities.
In his address, Minister Seeruttun highlighted that the Scheme, an initiative of the Small Farmers Welfare Fund in collaboration with the Agricultural Mechanisation Unit of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority and other key stakeholders, aims at assisting planters in addressing various challenges such as scarcity of labour and climate change. The Scheme is designed to help planters increase their production and enhance their sustainability so as to ensure national food security. He underlined that services that will be offered include disc harrowing, stone crushing, tillage and bed forming, among others.
The Land Mechanisation Support Scheme, he underscored, will be operated on a pilot basis for small registered planters cultivating food crop in localities of upper and lower Plaines Wilhems (Perrier, Plaine Sophie 1 & 2, Mare Longue, Closel, Henrietta, Vacoas and Palma), Savanne (Grand Bois, Bois Cherie, St-Avole and Britannia), Grand Port (Nouvelle France, Cluny, Rose Belle and Banane) and Black River (Bambous, La Chaumière and St-Martin). Registered planters cultivating food crop will receive a subsidy of more than 50% of the rental cost of machinery from Government, he pointed out. Some 525 planters will benefit from the scheme covering around 725 arpents of cultivated land.
The Agro-Industry Minister recalled that Government has come forward with several projects such as the Wholesale Market at Wooton, so that planters can sell their products directly to customers at a more competitive price, and the setting up of 100 sheltered farms in view of incurring fewer losses due to climatic change. These projects, he stated, aim at modernising Mauritius in terms of infrastructure for the agricultural sector.
For his part, Minister Bodha pointed out that the Land Mechanisation Support Scheme will improve productivity and profitability of planters cultivating food crop. He also urged planters to take advantage of all schemes put at their disposal by the Government so as to be able to ensure national food security.