Budget 2024-2025 Sector Review

Review by Olivier Ma

The Ministry of Finance has addressed some critical aspects of our economy, particularly in the agricultural sector. However, there are still gaps that need to be bridged to achieve true self-sufficiency and reduce our dependence on imports. To accomplish this, we must adopt a multifaceted approach that combines policy reforms, investment incentives, and skill development programs.

Budget 2024-2025 Sector Review
Budget Review

Foreign Worker Policies: A Step Forward, Yet Incomplete

The Minister of Finance has taken a commendable step by extending the work permit period for foreign workers to 8 years. This move aims to alleviate the labor shortage but falls short of a comprehensive solution. The lack of detailed provisions in the amended Agricultural Workers Regulations remains a concern. We must delve deeper into the specifics of recruitment procedures, work conditions, and skill development programs for foreign workers. Additionally, fostering cultural integration and promoting knowledge exchange between local and foreign laborers can enhance productivity and mutual understanding.

Cane Replantation Scheme: A Boost for Agriculture

The budget introduces an increase in the grant under the Cane Replantation Scheme, raising it from Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 per arpent. Over the past three years, approximately 9,900 arpents have been replanted. While this initiative is welcome, more robust incentives are needed to encourage individual investors, planters, breeders, and farmers to invest in the agricultural sector actively. We should explore innovative financing models, such as low-interest loans or tax breaks, specifically tailored for agri-businesses. Furthermore, targeted training programs on modern farming techniques, sustainable practices, and crop diversification can empower our agricultural workforce and boost productivity

In summary, the 2024-2025 budget takes steps in the right direction, but it must further empower our agri-businesses and foster sustainable growth. By refining existing measures and introducing new ones, we can create an ecosystem where local farmers thrive, food security strengthens, and Mauritius becomes a model for sustainable agriculture in the region.

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