A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the acquisition of a harvester for the harvesting of sugar cane by small planters , was signed, yesterday, between the Mauritius Cooperative Agricultural Federation Ltd ( MCAF )and the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority, at Le Réduit.
The Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr.Maneesh Gobin and the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives , Mr.Soomilduth Bholah, were present on the occasion.
It is recalled that Budget 2019-2020 earmarked a sum of Rs 15 million for the acquisition of the equipment. Government has offered a grant of 51% of the sum disbursed for the acquisition of the equipment, while the remaining 49 % will be settled by the MCAF over a period of 7 years.
The purchase of the harvester aims at helping small farmers of sugar cane improve their productivity by the adoption of modern and efficient small-scale sugar cane production technologies, due to the lack of labour availability especially during harvest season.
In his address, Minister Bholah dwelt on the lack of interest given to agriculture and the dire lack of labour. According to him, the use of machinery for modern and efficient agricultural practices is the solution to this challenge.
He expressed satisfaction as regards the acquisition of the equipment, which he emphasised will provide immediate and substantial relief to the farmers and the industry. Government, he added, is committed to take the necessary measures to address the difficulties of that sector, and the plight of small planters.
Minister Bholah also reiterated Government’s support to the sugarcane industry, and its commitment to build its long-term resilience as well as that of other sectors including the cooperative sector.
As for Minister Gobin, he pointed out that the acquisition of the harvesting machine and the recent setting up of the Seedling Production Unit at the Maison des Eleveurs in Henrietta, form part of a plethora of projects aimed at developing the agricultural sector that is in the pipeline.
The MoU, he said, specifies the proper utilisation and maintenance of the harvesting equipment so that optimum use of it is made by a maximum number of farmers.
He observed that such a strong partnership between the two Ministries is based on new synergies geared towards the achievement of common goals of boosting the agricultural sector and strengthening food security in the country.
Moreover, Minister Gobin announced that this partnership will translate in other collaborations namely between the Cooperative sector and the Agricultural Marketing Board as well as the Cooperative sector and fisheries.
He underlined the need for conjoint efforts of all institutions and ministries to advance towards common goals for the progress and benefit of all.