The government of Mauritius says it will immediately start importing vegetables from South Africa, Egypt and India following heavy rains that destroyed large areas of farmland since the beginning of this month.
In a statement, Agro Industry and Food Security Minister Mahen Kumar Seeruttun said the latest assessment highlighted a clear need to import as most of the vegetable farms were destroyed by the floods.
Also read: Cyclone Ava casts dry spell over Zambia
“Following the heavy rainfalls that have affected local vegetable production since the beginning of January 2018, Mauritius will inevitably resort to importing from South Africa, India and Egypt.
“As a first step, 170 tons of carrots, 50 tons of cabbage, 15 tons of cauliflower, and 30 tons of beans will be imported over several weeks to prevent shortages on the local market,” Seeruttun said.
He said the flooding cut vegetable production by 75%, and the situation is expected to return to normal after at least 3 months. The government is already working to mitigate the floodwater damage to farmlands.
Among other initiatives, the government is negotiating the Development Bank of Mauritius (DBM) to provide recapitalisation loans to 6 000 farmers who suffered net losses.
If approved, the loans will be disbursed on condition that they will only be invested in the rehabilitation of fields and acquisition of quality seeds needed to restart sustainable production.
The financing plan, which includes a farm insurance component, has since been incorporated into the 2017/’18 budget.