Agro-Industry Ministry implementing measures to promote bio farming
A plot of land of an extent of 66 Arpents on State Land at Britannia will be released for the exclusive use of bio farming projects, announced the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun in reply to a question at the National Assembly on 14 June 2016.
This plot of land will be equipped with all production infrastructure including land preparation works, irrigation facilities and other infrastructural facilities and will be made available to potential promoters of bio farming food production systems.
In this context, a five module training package was developped by Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI) on the MauriGap Level 1 Standard which is the basic standard for bio farming. Some 240 planters have so far submitted requests to follow this training programme which will start as from this month itself, said the Minister.
He also stated that for the promotion of bio farming, measures like the Compost Subsidy Scheme and the Sheltered Farming Scheme have been introduced. The Compost Subsidy Scheme encourages planters to shift from the use of chemical inputs to organic ones. As at date, some 3300 planters have taken advantage of the Scheme, Mr Seeruttun pointed out.
On the other hand, the Sheltered Farming Scheme encourages planters to undertake crop production under protected structures. With the phenomenon of climate change, it is a fact that our crop production systems are vulnerable to higher risks of natural calamities including outbreak of pests and diseases, said the Minister, adding that protected structures indeed help producers to mitigate the effects of these risks and ultimately lead to lower dependence on agro chemicals. As at date some 68 planters have taken advantage of this Scheme.
Minister Seeruttun also announced the implementation of the project SMART Agriculture and the setting up of a Certification Body. The project SMART Agriculture will be implemented over a period of three years and planters will be encouraged to reduce their reliance on agro chemicals in food crop production through a system of monitoring. This project will be implemented by the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture and FAREI on a pilot basis island wide with 10 small growers and 10 large scale growers.
As for the Certification Body, it will be set up under the aegis of Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security for the certification of food crops production complying with the MauriGap Level 1 Standard, the basic standard for bio farming. This Certification Body will be operational shortly, said the Minister.