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Réponse de Mahen Seeruttun à la question de Ranjiv Woochit

Lors de la séance parlementaire du 9 juillet 2024, le ministre de l’Agro-Industrie a informé le député rouge concernant le plan stratégique mis en place par rapport à la production des légumes, l’élevage de poissons et du bétail pour parvenir à l’autosuffisance.

The Honourable Third Member for Pamplemousses and Triolet (Mr Woochit)
To ask the Honourable Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security –
Whether, in regard to vegetables, fruits, fish and meat, he will state the strategic plan put in place by his Ministry to achieve self-sufficiency in the production thereof?

Mr Speaker, Sir,
Food security remains the priority of this Government. As indicated in my reply to Parliamentary Question B/518 last week, efforts of my Ministry are geared primarily towards the improvement of our food security especially with the repercussions of global strife and adverse climatic conditions which bring about food shortage.
This explains the reason why my Ministry has elaborated a Strategic Plan on our food system for the years 2024-2030.
Mr. Speaker, Sir,
This Plan has been worked out following une Assise de l’agriculture held in March last year and which was attended by some 150 experts, academia, researchers and stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including farmers, Outer Islands Development Corporation and the Rodriguan Commission for Agriculture.
The Strategic Plan is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)2, which is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. It highlights all the current and upcoming challenges in the agricultural sector and the related areas of intervention. It also builds on achievements and on lessons learnt over the last five years, while addressing and mitigating the identified shortcomings.
In this respect, cluster analyses have been made for the food crop sector comprising of potato, onion, garlic, cucurbits, crucifers, legumes and pulses, starchy crops, tomato and fruits; and our livestock cluster that is on the production of poultry, cattle, deer, goat, sheep, pig and apiculture.

Provision for Rodrigues and Agalega has also been made in the Plan.

It is to be highlighted that the plan excludes fish production, which falls under the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping.
As per the plan, our agricultural sector is expected to grow at an average rate of 6% per year over the next 7 years.

Mr. Speaker, Sir,
To achieve this target, the Plan makes provision for a three-pronged approach:
(i) Firstly, boosting production for resilient food security – the targets are to increase production of food crops by 15% under open field, increase production by 100% under protected structures, increase meat production by 50% and increase honey production by 20%. The areas of intervention are to develop and upgrade appropriate production infrastructures, improve access to inputs (planting materials and animal feed) and research and development;

(ii) Secondly, promoting sustainable and resilient production – the targets are to train all farmers in sustainable agricultural practices and increase by 10% acreage under sustainable agriculture. The areas of intervention are geared towards sustainable agricultural practices, integrated pest and disease management, promotion of bio-farming and developing smart and innovative production systems; and

(iii) Thirdly, encouraging entrepreneurship and agro-processing the targets are to train 100 agro-entrepreneurs per annum with a view to increasing by 10% per annum the number of entrepreneurs involved in agribusiness. The areas of intervention are to promote value addition, develop appropriate market structures and capacity building and professionalisation of operators and institutions.

Mr. Speaker, Sir,
It is good to note that the targets have been set in line with the Government Programme and Vision 2030. In addition, the areas of interventions in the Strategic Plan are pursuant to international and regional commitments such as United Nations SDGs, the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), SADC Plant Genetic Resources, SADC Harmonized Fertilizer Regulatory Framework, SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System, the World Organization for Animal Health, the Indian Ocean Commission Regional Programme for Food Security and Nutrition, as well as, the agricultural commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as outlined in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC 2021).

Mr. Speaker, Sir,
The Strategic Plan will thus ensure inclusive participation of all stakeholders, in line with the United Nations approach to Leave No One Behind in the transformation of our agri-food systems into a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable one and for better production, better nutrition, as well as, for a better environment and better quality of life.

I must also say, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that the Strategic Plan acknowledges the constraints and challenges faced by the agricultural sector. As we all know, the sector is continuously facing several threats and emerging challenges, namely climate change and its adverse impacts, health emergencies, land scarcity, ageing farming population, lack of quality standards as well as, international conflicts, amongst others. As a consequence, building resilience is critical for vulnerable small island states like ours.

Mr Speaker, Sir,
The Strategic Plan also focuses on strengthening the governance, regulatory and institutional capacity of the agricultural sector at local, regional and international levels. There is thus need to develop appropriate legal and institutional frameworks to enable its effective implementation as well as, create a right and enabling environment for the agriculture sector development and a sound governance system. Same are underway.

Pending the release of the Strategic Plan which will be soon, Mr. Speaker, Sir, various measures have been taken to boost the agricultural sector The details of which ,I have provided in my reply to Parliamentary Question B/572 .The House may wish to note that we are self-sufficient in local food crops and poultry. Our milk and honey production are increasing gradually. While our importation in fresh fruits is on the decreasing trend.

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