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Mahen Seeruttun a répondu à deux questions parlementaires.

Le ministre de l’Agro Industrie a répondu aux inerrogations écrites de d’Abbas Mamode et de Kushal Lobine lors de la séance parlementaire du 14 mai 2024.


B/333 The Honourable Second Member for Port Louis Maritime and
Port Louis East (Mr Abbas Mamode)
To ask the Honourable Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security-
Whether, in regard to afforestation in mainland Mauritius, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Conservator of Forests, information as to the actions taken therefor?

Mr. Speaker, Sir

I am informed that in line with the Government Programme 2020-2024, the Forestry Service of my Ministry has reinforced the restoration of our forests with a view to greening Mauritius and thus contributing to our soil conservation, carbon storage and sequestration, and improving air quality, among others.

In this respect, several initiatives have been undertaken. These include:
(a) provision of more than 75,000 plants free of charge to public and private institutions under the National Tree Planting campaign so as to embellish our environment and increase our tree cover, and
(b) implementation of reforestation projects including social forestry activities during the last five years that has resulted in the creation of:
i. the Bel Air Mini Forest, where 1350 plants were introduced on 0.83 hectare of land,
ii. La Prairie Mini Forest with 309 plants introduced on 1.2 Ha,
iii. the Grand River North West Peri Urban Forest which covers an extent of 0.9 Ha,
iv. Malenga Mini Forest over an extent of 0.1 Ha,
v. Pas Geometriques Virginia with 2005 plants introduced on 3 Ha,
vi Beemanique Remembrance Forest over an extent of 9.2 Ha,
vii. Plaines Sophie Forest where 19,000 plants were introduced over an extent of 4 Ha, and
viii. rehabilitation of part of Signal Mountain with 900 plants introduced over 1 Ha.

Mr. Speaker, Sir

In addition to these initiatives, for every tree felled on state lands or road/river reserves in view of development projects, the Forestry Service imposes the plantation of thrice the number of trees removed. This is being strictly monitored by the Forestry Service with a view to ensuring that any loss of tree cover is adequately compensated for.

Mr. Speaker, Sir

Besides the above, the Forestry Service has also established dedicated Bee Reserve zones within the existing forest areas of La Ferme and Bras D’eau and where some 800 additional melliferous trees have been planted. About seventy-five (75) bee-keepers have been allowed to undertake bee keeping activities in these Bee Reserve Zones and earn their living through honey production.

As a result of the above, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Forestry Service is today actively managing some 180 Ha of forest land.
Side by side, the National Parks and Conservation Service which is mandated to restore and conserve native forest within the National Parks and Special Reserves, has, on its part, engaged in the management of some 798 Ha, representing an increase of some 5 Ha for the period July 2023 to date. Initial weeding is being undertaken in areas where no maintenance or conservation works was carried out before. I wish to inform the House that as at date, a total of 215 Ha of land under conservation is being continuously maintained by the National Parks and Conservation Service.


B/336 The Honourable First Member for La Caverne and Phoenix
(Mr. Lobine)

To ask the Honourable Minister of Agro -Industry and Food Security-

Whether, in regard to the proposed introduction of a Wetland
Bill in the National Assembly, he will state where matters stand?

Sitting of 14 May 2024

Mr. Speaker, Sir

1. Mauritius is since 2001, a Contracting Party to the Convention on Wetlands of international importance also known as the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention which, inter alia, provides for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources, requires Contracting Parties to include wetland conservation considerations in their national land-use planning.

2. In view thereof, my Ministry contemplated the introduction of a Wetland Bill. I must admit, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the preparation of the Bill has taken quite some time due to circumstances beyond our control namely:
(a) the inherent complexity of the matter,
(b) the challenges it represents with regard to Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) found on private properties and preventing development of same thus depriving owners from their legal rights,
(c) conservation of ESAs which is no easy task taking into account that we are a Small Island Developing State with very limited land resources,
(d) the difficulties in drawing a proper inventory of wetlands due to the fact that wetlands are dynamic system that influence and are influenced by a complex range of environmental factors and are also affected by various processes such as climatic, hydrological, geological, biological and human influences,
(e) development already been undertaken on ESAs or backfilled, and
(f) Mauritius does not have the necessary competencies to address those issues and as such the services of foreign consultants had to be hired to work on the Bill.

3. As at date, Mr. Speaker, Sir, a draft Wetland Bill has already been prepared and same will very soon be released for wide consultation. The services of a consultant will again have to be enlisted to evaluate and advise on comments /views to be received from the consultation and whether they would be retained for consideration.

4. After, the finalisation of the document, same will have to be vetted by the Attorney General’s Office. I must say, Mr Speaker, Sir, that this process will be quite lengthy and entrails several implications.

5. In the meantime the Bill is ready, Mr Speaker, Sir, applications for development near or on wetlands are being examined by the National Ramsar Committee which falls under my Ministry. The Committee ensures the proper implementation of wetland management plans and facilitates coordination between stakeholders engaged in wise use and conservation of wetlands.

6. Non-compliant development are being dealt/handled by local authorities under the EPA as amended in June 2023. Same will be reinforced with the coming into operation of the Environment Bill 2024 which also caters for the management and protection of Environmentally Sensitive Areas, including wetlands, which will facilitate the coordination amongst different institutions, as well as the establishment and updating of an ESA inventory and ESA maps.

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