GIS – 18 October, 2018: The creation of a centre of excellence for research and the use of technology so as to ease the work of tea growers will help increase tea production and revitalise the tea sector in Mauritius.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement yesterday at Royal Parbeaux Hall, Nouvelle France, during a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security for the payment of the Winter Tea Allowance to tea growers. The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun, Ministers and Members of Parliament, and other personalities were present on the occasion.
A cheque of approximately Rs 3.86 million was handed over to the Chairman of the Small Farmers Welfare Fund and the organisation will effect payment of the Winter Tea Allowance to some 1 100 tea growers.
In his address, the Prime Minister recalled that Budget 2018-2019 made provision for a monthly income support of 50 cents per kilo of tea leaves harvested by small planters during the three months winter period. However, he highlighted, Government has decided to increase this support to 75 cents per kilo of tea leaves harvested so as to provide better assistance and motivation to tea growers.
He underlined that Government is also taking necessary measures to create the appropriate environment to attract investors in the tea sector. This, he pointed out, will help create a new dynamism in the sector for it to flourish. He added that Mauristea Investment Co Ltd, a company from China, has already taken over the Dubreuil tea factory and made it operational again. Some 600 arpents of land have already been identified and will be made available to promoters for tea plantation.
Prime Minister Jugnauth underscored that the use of new techniques and information technology can be used to the advantage of tea growers and he made a parallel with young graduates who are using technology in sheltered farming. He further dwelt on ongoing Government projects, including the Metro Express and the A1-M1 link road, and measures taken to sustain the population such as the National Minimum Wage.
For his part, the Agro-Industry Minister underlined that the tea industry is experiencing a growth of 7% per annum and this figure is bound to increase in the years to come. Since 2015, Government has been working towards the revival of the tea sector and today this sector comprises some 1 200 tea growers, 1 500 arpents under tea cultivation and an annual tea production of around 1 400 tons. The Winter Tea Allowance shows commitment of Government to support tea growers so that this sector plays an important role in the country’s economy, he added.
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