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Mauritius Agriculture and Fishing Overview
The importance of agriculture to Mauritius' economy has declined sharply since the 1970s. Sugarcane is the most important crop and sugar accounts for about a tenth of the country's total export revenue, despite high production costs and falling sugar prices. Fishing has become an increasingly important source of income.
Traditionally, agriculture was the backbone of the Mauritanian economy, and sugar production dominated largely. However, agriculture's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) decreased from 20 percent in 1970 to 4 percent in 2013. However, over 90 percent of the agricultural land is used for sugarcane cultivation.
Just over half of the land is cultivated by a few plantation owners and the rest of about 28,000 smallholder farmers who either own or lease their land. The latter have often joined forces in cooperatives. In total, the sugar industry employs around 18,000 people, which corresponds to almost a third of agricultural employees.
The EU's decision to reduce sugar subsidies for EU countries from 2006 and some of their former colonies hit Mauritius hard. The EU sugar price, which was significantly above the world market price, was reduced by a total of 36 percent between 2006 and 2010. Tens of thousands of employees, many of whom were seasonal workers, lost their jobs in the sugar industry. Six large plantations went bankrupt. In compensation, the EU gave Mauritius and 17 other countries a total of € 40 million to share. For Mauritius, that money was not enough for the upgrades needed to make the sugar industry competitive again. Since 2006, more and more of the industry has been focused on producing ethanol and baggage (for electricity). A large part of the production is refined on the island.
Otherwise, tea and tobacco crops dominate. The lack of agricultural and pasture land means that large quantities of food, such as beef and dairy products, must be imported. In recent years, however, the country has become largely self-sufficient on potatoes, vegetables, pork, eggs and poultry. Vegetable production increased since the start of growing vegetables together with sugar cane.
Mauritius has a large zone of fish-rich water. Fishing has become an increasingly important industry and has a central role in the government's efforts to broaden the economy. In 2011, fish exports accounted for 15 percent of the country's total export income. The United Nations Food Agency FAO has predicted that Mauritius fish production will triple in 2000-2025. In 2006, the country joined the FAO Regional Fisheries Commission for the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIOFC). The Commission, whose mission is to promote sustainable fishing, is assisting Mauritius in maintaining its fishing fleet. The EU has purchased a license with the right to catch a certain quota of fish in Mauritanian waters.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
2.8 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
42.4 percent (2016)
Jugnauth becomes prime minister again
Anerood Jugnauth from MSM is appointed by the National Assembly as Prime Minister for a new government with Ministers from the Folkalliance. Jugnauth has previously been Prime Minister in two rounds (1982–1995 and 2000–2003) and President (2003–2014) and is one of Mauritius ’most dominant politicians.
Victory for the Folk Alliance in parliamentary elections
The December 10 parliamentary election results in a clear victory for the opposition Folk Alliance, which consists of MSM and PMSD. It receives 51 of the 69 seats. The alliance between MLP and MMM wins 16 seats, while the Rodrigue People Organization gets 2 seats. At the same time, a referendum is being held that will lead voters to refuse to give the president greater powers of power through constitutional amendments. The turnout is 74 percent.
Parliament is dissolved
President Purryag dissolves Parliament before the elections in accordance with the Constitution.
The finance minister resigns in protest
Xavier-Luc Duval, finance minister and leader of the PMSD, resigns shortly afterwards in protest of a reform proposal that would imply that the mandate is distributed proportionately in elections. According to Duval, the changes will mainly benefit MLP.
Party cooperation before parliamentary elections
The ruling MLP announces that it will run for parliamentary elections later in the year together with MMM.
Trial in corruption case
A lawsuit against MSM leader Pravind Jugnauth begins. He is charged with conflicts of interest in connection with the corruption deal regarding the government's purchase of a health care clinic.