16 June 2020: The Agricultural
Marketing Board (AMB) will be restructured with a view to becoming a strategic
marketing arm of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security and will
intervene to stabilise the price of agricultural produce, stated the Attorney
General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, today,
at the National Assembly during his intervention on the Budget 2020-2021.
Minister Gobin highlighted that, with this restructuring,
the AMB’s operation will not be limited only to potatoes, onions and garlic but
it will be mandated to deal with a variety of food products so as to ensure
regular supply of same at affordable price. He pointed out that more retail
outlets will be opened across the island, thus revamping the operational role
of the AMB and its products will be made available to a larger number of
private operators across the country.
He also underlined that the Mauritius Agricultural Marketing
Act (1963) will also be amended to provide for the management, by the AMB, of
the National Wholesale Market, which is currently under construction. With the
support of the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI),
this initiative will further enable the Ministry to prepare and implement a
production plan for food crops based on local demand, he added.
Furthermore, Minister Gobin emphasised that several
measures will be implemented so as to ensure food crop availability and accessibility
to the population. They are: the establishment of a price stabilisation
mechanism for agricultural produce; a Planned Production Strategy; and the storage
and the agro-processing of surplus produce which will be made possible through
the inception of a comprehensive National Agri-Food Development Programme, as
announced in the Budget Speech.
Minister also dwelt on several other measures to be implemented for the crop
sector, the Planned Production Strategy, animal production, biodiversity, and
the tea sector. In addition, he underscored that some 500 arpents are being
targeted for the implementation of the Planned Production Strategy by the institutions
operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security.