The Rivière du Rempart Farmers Service Centre as a One-Stop-Shop, bringing under one single roof all government institutions concerned with agricultural activities, was launched on Saturday 04 July 2020, in presence of the Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr. Maneesh Gobin.
Key institutions providing their services at the One-Stop-Shop are: the Sugar Insurance Fund Board, Food and Agricultural Research Extension Institution, Agricultural Marketing Board, Small Farmers Welfare Fund, Agricultural Services Centre and the Mauritius Cooperative Agricultural Federation Ltd, and the State Trading Corporation for the provision of staple goods namely flour and rice.
In his address, the Minister said that the One-Stop-Shop has been set up in accordance to Government’s determination to cater for the needs of the population by providing effective service-delivery across the island, in accordance with its policy of proximity.
This centre aims at improving the effectiveness of service delivery for operators in agriculture as well as farmers residing in both the Northern and Eastern regions of the country, he added.
Mr. Maneesh Gobin observed that the Covid-19 crisis has underscored the need to be as self-sufficient as possible in what we consume. Hence, with the aim of consolidating food security and reduce our dependence on imports, he emphasised that Government is seeking to strengthen the agricultural sector and will release abandoned lands for cultivation.
He urged operators in agriculture to avail themselves of Governmental facilities including technical and financial assistance to undertake more agricultural activities, while encouraging them to consider new farming techniques and new varieties of crops .
The Minister also recalled that the Government has offered a grant of Rs 15 million for the purchase of a harvester, that will be allocated to the Mauritius Cooperative Agricultural Federation Ltd. He indicated that the equipment that has been purchased from India, will be received in some weeks and that engineers will dispense a six-month training to local officers as regards the utilisation and maintenance of the machine.
He observed that agriculture has significantly contributed to the economic progress of the country and stressed that we should still tap into the numerous opportunities of the sector and leverage it as one of the engines of tomorrow’s growth.
Two key projects of the Ministry in the pipeline consists of the launching of a National campaign on agro-food processing regarding food conservation processes such as deep freezing and the setting up of another Farmers Service Centre One-Stop-Shop in Beau-Champ.
Also present on the occasion, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, laid emphasis on the contribution of women as entrepreneurs and the collaboration of her Ministry to increase the participation of women in the agricultural and fisheries sectors.
She reiterated her Ministry’s mission of ensuring the welfare of families, protecting the rights of children and promoting gender equality and equity and deplored that children and women continue to be victims of acts of abuse and violence. Government will take the necessary measures to ensure their protection and see to it that their fundamental rights are respected, she said.
Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah stressed that parents , as primary care-givers as well as elderly family members, have the duties and responsibilities to ensure that children are raised in a safe, secure and loving environment.
According to her, the rights and well-being of children and women will be best served in a society free from violence and discrimination, hence the need for everyone to fight against any form of abuse.
She also announced that the New Children’s Bill will be shortly presented in the National Assembly.