Several measures have been taken by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security to promote food security over the past three years in the country. They are namely training, financial grants, research and development programmes, developing mobile application software and setting up of farms.
These details were given, yesterday, in the National Assembly, by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, in a reply to a Parliamentary Question with regard to food security.
According to the Minister, a number of facilities, including training are provided to planters and breeders through different schemes by the Ministry, the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, and the Agricultural Marketing Board in view to promoting and boosting local agricultural production as well as to ensuring high yields.
Other schemes include: increase in grant for sheltered farming from Rs 250 000 to Rs 400 000; land mechanisation, procurement of seeds, and VAT exemption on the purchase of agricultural equipment and tools; promotion of agro forestry as a new farming system; establishment of bee reserve zones around the island to promote pollination, setting up of a Fruit Fly Rearing facility, launch of a software application named 'Mokaro'; and development of a wide range of value-added products and agro processing to minimise post-harvest losses and food wastage.
With regard to the livestock sector, Minister Seeruttun said that a goat/sheep reproduction farm has been set up at Belle Mare, a heifer farm at Melrose and a sheep reproduction farm at Salazie. A Turkey Quarantine Unit also has been set up at Plaine Magnien, he added. He further stated that cash incentives are given to breeders for the rearing of heifers up to lactating stage and purchase of imported breeding animals, equipment and renovation/construction of farm buildings and fodder production.
These measures, said the Minister, are contributing to consolidate the country's food security level. He indicated that the country's food crop production has witnessed an increase from around 102 006T in 2015 to around 118 607T in 2018. The food crop production in Rodrigues has equally increased from around 2679 T in 2015 to around 3112 T in 2017, he added.