New model must for Mauritius sugarcane industry to survive: Minister
Mauritius Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Satish Faugoo, noted that the Multi Annual Adaptation Strategy (MAAS) makes provision for the transformation of the sugar industry into a sugar cane cluster. (Image: News Time Africa)
Reducing costs, focusing on quality, adding value to Mauritian products and setting up a fully functional new model is a must for the sugarcane industry, according to Mauritius Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Satish Faugoo.
The minister noted that the Multi Annual Adaptation Strategy (MAAS) makes provision for the transformation of the sugar industry into a sugar cane cluster. The sugar industry is in flux as Mauritius moves from an essentially raw sugar producer to a situation where it produces several types of sugar such as raw, special, industrial and white, besides electricity.
The minister’s statement takes on added significance, coming as it does on the heels of the 4th EU-Africa Summit in Brussels held earlier this month. At the summit, EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs promised support to Mauritius during the transition period in the wake of the abolition of EU sugar quotas in 2017, when prices are expected to decline drastically.
The minister observed that the new model was needed to ensure that sugar continues to play a multifunctional role in the island economy, even as the sugar industry remains economically, environmentally and socially viable.
Speaking on the occasion of the closure of the Deep River Beau Champ sugarcane factory, the minister noted that the closure of factories leads to cost savings as the rightsizing of human resources in production plants reduces labour costs both in absolute and relative terms.
Some 154 beneficiaries from the Deep River Beau Champ factory are eligible for compensation as per the Blue Print for the sugarcane sector and are entitled to cash compensation.
The Blue Print for the sugarcane sector mandates that employees accepting voluntary termination of their employment contract, in the context of factory closures or rightsizing of sugarcane growing and factory plants, are given an attractive compensation both in cash and in kind.
The package includes the possibility of benefiting from early entitlements to retirement pension as well as opening up of re-skilling opportunities and loan opportunities to these employees.
The Blue Print also encourages and assists small planters to regroup into larger units and consequently increase their yields and lower their cost of production.
Moreover, planters operating in economically and environmentally difficult areas are provided with support to turnaround unviable operations.