A REDUIT : FORMATION DE 53 PERSONNES EN AGRICULTURE BIO
Les 53 personnes qui ont suivi, cinq jours durant, une formation en agriculture biologique se sont vus remettre leurs certificats, le mercredi 7 décembre 2016, par Mahen Seeruttun, ministre de l’Agro-industrie et de la Sécurité alimentaire. Les participants viennent du ministère de l’Agro-industrie, du Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Unit (FAREI), de l’Université de Maurice, du secteur privé comme Maurifood, ou encore sont des représentants des Organisations non-gouvernementales dont l’APEIM, Caritas et Forena. La mission de ces personnes est de former et d’encadrer les planteurs pour qu’ils délaissent la culture conventionnelle c’est-à-dire l’usage des intrants chimiques dont les pesticides, fongicides et herbicides pour le bio.
Ci-dessous le discours prononcé par le ministre Seeruttun dans son intégralité.
“A special greeting to Professor John Nderitu, the FAO International Consultant in Organic Agriculture from Kenya.
It gives me a real pleasure to be present at this Ceremony of Award of certificates to participants of the Training of Trainers in Organic Crop Production organized by my Ministry in collaboration with the FAO.
As you already know, the project: « Support for the Development of Organic Farming and Institutional Capacity Building in Mauritius », is being implemented over two years with technical assistance from the FAO.
One of the major objectives of the project is to contribute towards strengthening national capabilities in organic agriculture in Mauritius, and this is why this training has been organized.
We strongly believe that capacity building of all relevant stakeholders is primordial if we want to achieve the goals set out in our Strategic Plan 2016/2020, namely improving the level of food security and food safety and promoting a more sustainable agriculture in the island.
I must say this technical project is now at its cruising speed.
I must equally admit that I’m quite impressed to learn that the training has been going on for five days and the total number of participants is 53. Congratulations to all the participants and the resource persons.
This shows a definite interest in organic agriculture and it is also clear that our government is right in promoting safe and sustainable agriculture techniques whether it is by following the MAURIGAP standard or through organic agriculture.
Though organic agriculture might still be at its infant stage in Mauritius, my message to all participants present here today, is that, when you leave from here, share your experience with your colleagues, friends and the community at large.
In this way, in the coming years we can expect to have a conservable increase in the number of farmers adopting the organic crop production principles.
Our farmers need to realize the importance to have a clean and safe agriculture not only for their own benefit, but also for consumers, for the environment and for the future generations.
Moreover, organic fruits and vegetables are not only said to be safer but are also known to be tastier, and more nutritious. Research has shown that they contain a higher amount of anti-oxidants as compared to conventionally grown foods.
Organically grown fruits and vegetables also have a longer shelf life and better storage properties.
According to the FAO and the CODEX Alimentarius Commission, I quote: “Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity”. End of quote.
It emphasises the use of management practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs.
This is accomplished by using, where possible, agronomic, biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfil any specific function within the system.
Therefore, organic agriculture is not about replacing chemical synthetic pesticides by bio pesticides.
Organic production involves an integrated management system and a totally different approach is expected from farmers in this type of production system, thus the need for training and sharing of experience.
I would here like to thank Mr Ramsamy for sharing his experience with us.
I would also like to commend him for his passion in organic agriculture as well as his achievement so far.
I wish many more young people would follow his example.
Nowadays there is a global trend to go organic, and I don’t see why Mauritius should lag behind.
I invite growers interested in organic agriculture to take advantage of the Bio farming Promotion Scheme, offered under my Ministry, for benefits like income tax holiday for the first eight years of operation of approved Bio farming project, VAT exemption on production equipment and other inputs acquired for implementation of the project and loan facilities under the MauBank Financing Scheme, among others.
You may check out for the details of the Bio farming scheme on the Ministry’s website or from FAREI.
I will end by once more congratulating all the participants.
I’m sure that you are now more confident to take up the challenges in organic production and I equally hope that you have built up some network between all the different stakeholders present here so that you can continue the sharing and learning process even beyond this training course.”