AGRICULTURE : ASSISTANCE TECHNIQUE DE LA FAO POUR LA SECURITE ALIMENTAIRE ET DES PLANTES
Le ministre de l’Agro-industrie et de la Sécurité alimentaire, Mahen Seeruttun, lors d’un séminaire à Pailles, a réaffirmé que le gouvernement déploie tous ses efforts pour une agriculture saine. A la requête du gouvernement mauricien, la FAO offrira une assistance technique au projet intitulé « soutien pour consolider la sécurité alimentaire nationale et le système de protection de la santé des plantes » dans l’île. Le financement est à hauteur de 380 000 dollars US soit quelque Rs 13 millions. La session de formation pour informer les parties-prenantes du secteur agricole pour avoir une agriculture qui ne nuit pas à la santé humaine.
Ci-dessous le discours du ministre dans son intégralité :
“I am delighted to be amidst you today for the opening ceremony to launch the FAO sponsored Technical Cooperation Programme entitled : “ Support for Strengthening National Food Safety and Plant Health Protection Systems in Mauritius”.
As Mr Khurun, the FAO national correspondent mentioned, this is the third TCP receiving technical support from the FAO.
I must say this new project focusing on Food Safety and Plant health, is totally in line with our Government Programme to promote safe and sustainable agriculture techniques, not only for our farmers` own benefits, but also for consumers, for the environment and for our future generations.
As most of you here, are certainly aware, my Ministry is presently implementing the 2016-2020 non sugar strategic plan.
Some of the main Priority Strategies and interventions for attaining the goals of the Non-Sugar Sector include:
1. Enhancing food and nutritional security
2. Promoting food safety and sustainable production systems and
lastly developing resilience to climate change
I’m sure you’ll agree that this FAO sponsored project will contribute towards our common objectives, through a number of training programmes aiming at enhancing the capacity of local plant protection and food safety control systems to provide improved public services related to plant health protection and food safety, and upgrading of laboratory facilities at the National Plant Protection Office, and Food Tech Lab, to strengthen the plant health enquiry point as well as the CODEX enquiry points.
Next, is the Establishment of plant health and food safety committees as well as establishment of a national Sanitary and Phytosanitary – SPS – coordinating committees, in order to ensure compliance with international norms and facilitate trade on regional and international markets, along with drafting of regulations under the GMO act 2004, to ensure the safe introduction of GMOs in the environment, and
finally improved mechanisms to monitor plant pests and diseases and incidences of food contamination along with the establishment of online and integrated, timely early warning systems for major pests and diseases
Ladies and Gentlemen
Pests and diseases are important limiting factors to agricultural productivity and their incidence is also directly linked to farmers’ income, and the increasing use or maybe I should say ‘abuse’ of pesticides that can result in pesticide residues in our plates!
Moreover, nowadays, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety and quality of food they consume.
Unfortunately with increasing trade and the incidence of climate change, there is an increase in emerging pests and diseases which threaten our agricultural sector at all times.
This is why my Ministry with the support of our partners from the private sector, is promoting clean and safe agriculture techniques whether it is through Smart agriculture, Maurigap, Zero Budget Natural Farming or Organic farming, since these techniques are more resilient to climate change and favour sustainable agriculture.
The government strongly believes that EVERYONE, whether rich or poor, has a right to safe food, and food safety is an essential component of food security.
We have a particular responsibility in the livestock sector. Last year we saw how diseases can decimate livestock and thus directly affecting the livelihood of farmers whether in Mauritius or Rodrigues and also affecting regional trade.
This is why the 2017 -2018 Budget makes provision for a number of measures to strengthen our food security by boosting biofarming, strengthening our veterinary services, drafting of a national biosecurity plan and improved disease surveillance as well as upgrading of animal health laboratory facilities.
Still with a concern for food safety, the pig slaughtering section at the MMA can now guarantee HACCP certified products since May of this year.
To come back to our present TCP on food safety and plant health, I am confident that even if we have accumulated some delay in the project implementation, we shall successfully undertake all the proposed project activities with the collaboration and support of all of you present here.
I seize the opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the FAO for being one of our major development partners and for the timeliness of this project in line with 2020 having been declared international year of plant health.
I count on your determination and commitment for our plant health and food safety control protection systems to have been positively transformed by then.
I’ll end here by declaring the Inception Workshop open and wish you all a pleasant day!”