Post cyclone Batsirai: Cheques remitted to planters who have incurred crop losses

An official ceremony was organised, today at the Plaine des Papayes Multipurpose Complex, for the remittance of cheques in the context of the financial assistance to planters who have incurred crop losses following the passage of recent tropical cyclone Batsirai from 31 January to 03 February 2022 near Mauritius. Some Rs 60 million has been earmarked for this financial assistance.

The Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin; the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah; the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS), Mr Rajanah Dhaliah; and other personalities attended the event.

In his address, Minister Gobin highlighted that Government agreed to provide financial support to more than 5 600 planters who have applied for assistance, and approved the necessary funding to finance this support accordingly. The aim, he indicated, is to assist the small planters to restart their plantation at the earliest so as to stabilise planters’ revenues, ensure their sustainability and reduce the breach in food production in order to promote national food security.

He underscored that, in order to adapt to the rise in prices of fertilisers, there is a need to find new solutions. His Ministry, he stated, is currently providing bio-fertiliser to small planters so that they are less dependant on traditional fertilisers. He also encouraged planters to use seaweed so as to boost their production.

Speaking about the Russia-Ukraine war, Minister Gobin underlined the need of finding alternatives to products such as sunflower oil, and to devise new means of production, such as vertical farming, in order to be more efficient.

For his part, Minister Callichurn stressed on the important role that the planters’ community play in the country. However, he observed, planters face several difficulties, such as lack of manpower as youth nowadays are not interested to embrace this vocation. He also dwelt on the vertical farming concept and indicated that the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development will soon launch training courses on same.

As for Minister Koonjoo-Shah, she pointed out that Government, through various support schemes, have at heart small planters’ interest. She recalled that, with previous lockdowns in Mauritius, the population faced difficulties as the country heavily relies on importation of food products. This is why, she added, Government lays much emphasis on the importance of being self-sufficient and promotes national food security.

PPS Dhaliah, for his part, dwelt on the Russia-Ukraine war, which is impacting on the world’s economy. As such, he cautioned, there is a need for Mauritius for being self-sufficient and planters have an important part to play in this endeavour.

Financial support modalities

The modalities applied to support the planters financially are as follows: Rs 6 000 per arpent for open field and Rs 6 000 per 500 square metres for sheltered farms; a maximum of Rs 6 000 per arpent to be paid for a maximum threshold of five arpents for open field plantations and 2 500 square metres for sheltered farming; and assistance would be provided only to planters who have been registered with the Small Farmers Welfare Fund prior to 31 January 2022.

Same modalities will also apply for those planters who have incurred losses following tropical cyclone Emnati on 19 and 20 February 2022, once a loss assessment exercise is completed.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Mauritius.

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