In a bid to counter challenges in the agricultural sector, new tractors are being put at the disposal of small registered food crop growers under the Land Mechanisation Support Scheme (LMSS), in presence of the Attorney General and, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, yesterday during a ceremony held in Belle-Mare.
The LMSS was introduced in 2019 by the Small Farmers Welfare Fund (SFWF) in collaboration with the Agricultural Mechanisation Unit (AMU) of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA). The aim is to provide increased access at affordable rates to mechanised land preparation to small registered vegetables, fruits and flowers growers to enable them to address major challenges being faced by the non-sugar plantation sector.
The Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, the Deputy Chairperson of Committees, Mr Sanjit Kumar Nuckcheddy, the Parliamentary Private Secretary, Mr Rajanah Dhaliah, the Chief Executive Officer of the MCIA, Mr Satish Purmessur, the Chairman of the SFWF, Mr Ashok Bundhoo, were also present on the occasion.
In his address, Minister Gobin underlined that in the face of the various challenges faced by small registered vegetables, fruits and flowers growers, Government is doing all in its capacity to relieve them and provide more incentives to boost the agricultural sector. The Ministry, he indicated, has made acquisition of two harvesters aimed at helping small sugar cane farmers to improve their productivity.
In the same vein, he stressed that new tractors are being put at the disposal of small food crop growers to modernise the sector as well as to help planters improve their plantation. The LMSS, he underlined, is to ensure the planter’s business sustainability and assist in reducing the cost of production and increase food production in line with the national food security initiative.
Speaking of the impact of torrential rain, the Agriculture Minister reassured planters that the Ministry is carrying out visits on fields in view to come up with a payment for compensation for those who have encountered damage and losses.
For his part, Minister Maudhoo dwelt on the major challenges that the world is facing namely the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia and Ukraine war and economic recession. “It is important that we ensure self-sufficiency and promote food security”, he said.
As regards other difficulties faced by planters and fishermen in terms of lack of labour and ageing population, he indicated that mechanisation is a great means to encourage the youth to tap into these fields and contribute to promoting self sufficiency.