New initiatives to encourage organic farming

Challenges in Organic Farming

The subsistence farming sector is encountering a myriad of challenges. Farmers consistently voice the issues they face in producing vegetables and fruits. When it comes to organic farming, progress remains sluggish. Amidst soil infertility, pest infestations, and disease concerns, many farmers argue that committing to organic practices is arduous. Conversely, advocates of sustainable agriculture argue otherwise, asserting that the pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides used in conventional farming are detrimental to consumers and the environment.

In a bid to steer towards progress and bolster organic agriculture, Minister of Agro-Industry, Teeruthraj Hurdoyal, emphasized the need to address challenges such as labor shortages, significant resource requirements, time, and investment during a workshop themed “Enhancing Organic Farming through Value Chain Analysis” held at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebene last week. To this end, he announced plans to establish dedicated zones for the sale of organic produce in markets and at the Wooton National Wholesale Market to enhance visibility for organic agriculture and provide farmers with a platform to market their goods.

Organic Farming

Addressing Pesticide Overuse to encourage organic farming

Streamlining the marketing of local organic products could stimulate demand and rejuvenate the sector. However, it faces another serious obstacle: the rampant use of pesticides, which continue to saturate farm lands and diminish fertility. In light of this complex scenario, Minister Hurdoyal reaffirms his commitment to tackle all challenges associated with organic farming. He encourages young entrepreneurs to venture into agricultural activities, leveraging the support measures offered.

These initiatives are expected not only to enhance product quality but also to reduce imports, thereby contributing to long-term food security while catering to the demands of local consumers and tourists. Moreover, there are plans to educate the youth about the health benefits of organic food. Additionally, to aid farmers, a marketing and communication strategy, along with a one-stop shop for organic agriculture-related activities, are under consideration.
This initiative aims to bring together all relevant institutions and government services under one roof to better support and guide farmers in their transition toward more sustainable practices. When asked about these measures to boost the organic sector, Krit Beeharry, a member of the Islands Farmers’ Platform, remains skeptical. He maintains that in practice, “it’s very challenging to implement this type of farming. Considering that Mauritius is a tropical country, and the issue of pests and diseases is very difficult to control.” Given the proposed measures, he believes that there is a need to “explain and demonstrate to farmers in the field how to succeed in this type of agriculture with proper follow-up.”

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