Mauritius: Rodrigues to boost agriculture with research programmes & exchanges
The setting up of a Geographical Indication Labelling and Quality Control System is also envisaged, in order to prop up the marketing of selected agricultural products of Rodrigues on the regional and international markets. (Image: Tropical Experience)
Mauritius and France inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote research programmes and exchanges in Rodrigues on June 26, 2014 at Port-Louis.
For the signing ceremony, the senior CEO of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mrs Fong Weng-Poorun, represented Mauritius and the ambassador of France, Mr Laurent Garnier, signed on behalf of France.
The main objective of the MoU is to promote capacity building and policy development through research programmes and look at joint areas of activities with the Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD).
Furthermore, the project provides for the monitoring of the project by a Steering Committee under the joint chairmanship of the Prime Minister’s Office and the French embassy.
The committee will comprise representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Mauritius Finance, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture ministries, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and CIRAD.
The director of the Agence Française du Développement (AFD), Mrs Laurence Breton-Moyet, CIRAD’s regional director Mr Christophe Poser, and Mr Davis Hee Hang Wye of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly were also present at the signing ceremony.
AFD, the premier French development finance agency, will fund CIRAD’s project with Euro 120,000.
Among the projects under the MoU, the setting up of a Geographical Indication Labelling and Quality Control System is also envisaged, in order to prop up the marketing of selected agricultural products of Rodrigues on the regional and international markets.
Incidentally, CIRAD is a French research centre working with developing countries to tackle international agricultural and development issues.
A public organization, it works under the joint authority of the French ministries of Higher Education and Research and that of Foreign and European Affairs.
In her address, Mrs Fong Weng-Poorun noted that this MoU can be seen as another milestone in Franco-Mauritian cooperation and friendship ties, while adding that the island economy and France have been enjoying excellent relations over the past several years.
She highlighted that CIRAD will bring its expert skills to Rodrigues to assist in the labelling and marketing of its local agricultural products such as honey, chilli, lemon as well as fruits and vegetable pickles.
As for Mr Laurent Garnier, this partnership aims to enhance cooperation in the agricultural domain in Rodrigues, because, according to him, agriculture in Rodrigues remains fragile and not well-structured, while the local produce is under-valued.
In addition, he said that the Geographical Indication Labelling and Quality Control Systems will ensure high-quality standards and will be an effective means to protect these products from unfair competition.
The project may be expected to have an important impact on the economic and social development of Rodrigues, he concluded.
The main activities of CIRAD under the MoU will relate to the implementation of agricultural and rural development operations, agro-processing of products; scientific and technical training, supporting research and demonstrations such as conferences, seminars, workshops; capacity building in empowerment, policy development and implementation of the agri-food chain; as well as programme development and resource mobilisation.