A proposal for FOOD SELF-SUFFICIENCY for Mauritius
TITLE OF PROPOSAL: Major large-scale projects for achieving FOOD SECURITY for the Republic. Through the SETUP large scale specialist agricultural crop production units for basis products (denrees de base).
OBJECTIVE: to reach within 3 years a very large degree of self-sufficiency in EIGHT MAIN basis foods, namely:
RICE; WHEAT; MILK/BUTTER ANDMILK PRODUCTS;
POTATOES AND OTHER TUBERCULES; GRAINS;
CITRUS AND OTHER FRUITS, VEGETABLES; SHEEP/GOAT/CATTLE/DEER;
FISH and other sea-foods via fish farming.
The main objective is above 70% of needs produced locally, leaving 30% for imported foods, to allow for diversity for the consumer. In the event of global catastrophes of any nature (war, pandemics, world shortages, climate change, sea level rise, breakdown in trade and shipping etc) our population will not starve. Eventual surplusses can be exported
METHODOLOGY: Select willing ( closed or functioning) sugar estates with large amount of land (as well as large cooperatives of small planters which can be set-up) and offer them contracts, provide them with scientific/agricultural assistance and funds (via the 2020-21 Budget and the 2 next ones) at least Rs 100 million per food product, total close to Rs 1 billion.
Guaranteed purchase by Government of all harvests produit a moris, to replace imported foodstuffs.
With strong accent on the use of renewable energy (sun, wind, biofuels) for all these farming activities (preparation of land and hydroponics labs, growing, harvesting, storage and distribution of products)
SOURCE OF FUNDING: Long term loans from the African Development Bank (plus World Bank and IMF) and/or money raised locally.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION: Based on scientific knowledge of rainfall, temperature, quality of soils etc choose which area will specialize in which product, with for example, in the case of rice, both a hot and dry area like Medine for one quality of dry rice and another area like Highlands for paddy. And Rodrigues for CITRUS and LIVE STOCK.
Open-ended tentative list of Sugar estates in different districts for the project:
1.Beau Plan and The Mount in Pamplemousses for wheat;
2.Mon Loisir Lagesse, Rivière du Rempart for rice ;
3.Mon Désert Alma, Moka for potatoes;
4.Beau Champ and FUEL in Flacq for rice and grains;
5. Riche en Eau, Ferney, St Aubin and Rose Belle in Grand Port for grains; St Aubin as an energy estate;
6.Savannah, Bel Ombre and Bénarès, in Savane for dry rice, fruit and vegetable ;
7. Highlands in P-Wilhems for Rice ;
8.Medine and Bel Ombre in Black River/Savanne for livestock;
9. Cooperatives and Rodrigues for different products.
All estates can produce fruit and vegetable depending on the climate; all can also go for fish farming, marine for those with access to lagoons and freshwater Aquaculture such as for Tilapia for the others.
Dr Michael ATCHIA