Find Agriculture expertise in Mauritius
Mauritius has traditionally had a primarily agricultural economic system, dominated by the mono-crop sugarcane up until the 1970s. Since then the country has experienced the growth of other sectors, alongside a diversification in the agriculture industry. However, sugar cane retains its position as the most significant agricultural export, whilst also covering almost 90% of the cultivated land area (2010). In 2010 exports of raw sugar generated $218,550,000 and refined sugar generated $33,090,000. Overall the move away from agriculture has seen a decline in its contribution to the national economy, with agriculture, forestry and fisheries contributing 4% to the GDP in 2010. However, agricultural land accounted for 48.3% of total land area in 2009
The main agricultural products, aside from sugarcane, include tea, corn, potatoes, bananas, pulses, cattle, goats and fish. The country has seen an increase in the production of flowers and fruits. Flowers grown on the island are exported towards Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States. Exports of mangoes, pineapples, lichis and bananas are sent to the European Union. High freight costs have also pushed entrepreneurs towards increasing the proportion of processed fruits and vegetables for export. The Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security oversees the promotion of agricultural production, with a specific focus on products that include milk and meat, horticultural products, sugar and tea. The government stipulates that ensuring the sustainability of the agricultural sector as a primary pillar in the country’s economic development remains a key focus.
In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012-13) Mauritius ranked relatively highly in terms of its balanced agricultural policy costs, placing 23rd in the world (out of 144 countries), with a value of 4.5 out of 7, compared to the world mean of 3.9. This placed it fourth amongst the sub-Saharan nations, coming below only Rwanda (2nd), The Gambia (10th) and Botswana (20th).
With increasing competition in the sugar industry, and changes in international agreements in terms of sugar exports altering previously preferential access to the European market, Mauritius continues to put efforts into diversifying the agricultural sector. The rising cost of sugar production has necessitated a restructuring of the industry, with a focus on increased mechanisation, better yield, improved management and energy production from bagasse. There has also been a development of special sugars and tea for the export market.
A number of factors constrain the development of the agriculture sector, including a narrow domestic market, land scarcity and high production costs. Government and industry plans wish to counter these issues through regional development agendas. Before 2015, the state wants to produce a larger volume of quality food-crops to meet the needs of a higher inflow of tourists and higher consumption of fruits and vegetables. They also want to aim to reduce cost of production through increased productivity per unit area of land and per unit cost of investment.