Agribusiness: Further Reforms

8 years, 7 months ago - May 22, 2013
The agricultural area in general shrinks and production of traditional crops such as sugarcane and tea is in decline. However, from 2011 to 2012, there was a 6% increase in food production.

The cultivated area for this purpose has actually increased by 10%, which means that it is the sugar industry which is mainly the cost of real estate development. On the other hand, the 'agricultural grinds' gaining ground while the agrarian reforms continue. Contrary to perception, statistics show an increase in the non-sugar agricultural production as well as an increase in the area under cultivation of vegetables, despite the growing number of real estate developments and the conversion of farmland. The real estate development rather nibble the area under cultivation of sugarcane.

Land formerly under canes are also converted into vegetable fields. In 2011, total food production was 115,934 tons, reaching 122,719 tons in 2012. Harvested area was 8,303 hectares in 2012, against 7,484 hectares in 2011. For cons, the area under sugarcane has declined between 2011 and 2012 from 56,668 hectares to 54,139 hectares.

The NAPRO: For efficiency

A National Agricultural Products Regulatory Agency (NAPRO) will be established to absorb the Tobacco Board, the Tea Board and the Mauritius Meat Authority. Law to this effect was introduced in Parliament in March. This initiative is part of the agricultural reforms to reduce public spending, while improving service quality and efficiency. As a reminder, the decision has already been taken to close the Tobacco Board and Tea Board.

The NAPRO follows the recent introduction of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (CEC), which itself was absorbed six institutions, including the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, the Cane Planters and Millers Arbitration and Control Board, the Sugar Planters Mechanical Pool Corporation, the Mauritius Sugar Terminal Corporation, the Mauritius Sugar Authority and the Farmers Service Corporation.

The NAPRO will aim to regulate the import, export and preparation or processing controlled, such as meat, tea and tobacco, among other products. The new body will also be responsible for activities related to the slaughter of animals and pricing of tobacco leaves. With the entry into force of NAPRO seven laws will be abolished: Tea Industry Control Act (1975) Tobacco Production and Marketing Act (1943) Tobacco Production and Marketing Regulations 1945 Tobacco Production and Marketing (Registers and Accounts) Regulations 1945; Meat (Shops) Regulations 1980 Tea Industry Control Regulations 1980 and Tobacco Production and Marketing (Import Licensing) Regulations 1998.

Seeds Bill: To better manage the seeds

A new law to regulate the cultivation, production, import and export of seeds and seed plants, 'Seeds Bill has been introduced in Parliament yesterday by the Minister of Agro-Industry. This legislation will create a National Plant Varieties and Seeds Office (NPVSO) and a National Plant Varieties and Seeds Committee (also called Seeds Committee) to advise the Department on national policy regarding seeds and plants . Commercial seed production is now regulated and variety of plant seeds will be recorded NPVSO. This unit will also oversee the sector.

Agricultural grinds

Recently, agricultural grinds attract. A farm fragmentation is a parcelling of farmland and each lot is for agricultural use only. The law allows agricultural fragmentation and each lot shall be a minimum area of 10 perches if the land is within the boundaries of permissible development (Within settlement boundary) or 20 perches if the land is outside development zones.

Unlike a residential subdivision, agricultural fragmentation may contain facilities such as water, electricity, drainage or upgraded roads (but rather 'track' roads). Residential construction will not be permitted on these lands. The proponent must hold a license in order to sell or fragmentation sign sales agreements. It must also comply with all conditions of the permit issued by the Board Grind. The buyer must be well aware of these conditions, moreover, are listed in the contract. Even a resale would be under the same conditions. Agricultural grinds can not be awarded for residential severances disguise. To date, there are several agricultural grinds that offer lots to the public.

The advantages

An agricultural subdivision with small lots of land is primarily an opportunity for those who do not have land to have access to land. Although it is not economically viable to operate a small portion of land (10 or 20 poles in these grinds), it still gives the opportunity to cultivate for self-sufficiency and sell the surplus. But the most important thing is the fact of owning a piece of land at an affordable price, which would not otherwise be possible for many families.

However, the exploitation of these lands would be more effective if the cooperative spirit bonus. Thus, costs may be amortized collectively. Other agricultural grinds offering lots of more than one acre each represent an opportunity for land investment when you consider that the land will appreciate in value later. For the developer, it is easy to raise funds to invest elsewhere means for an agricultural subdivision does not require infrastructure spending and file processing permit application is faster than residential development.


For some real estate agents, agricultural grinds compete with residential projects because their prices are more affordable. People prefer to invest in agricultural lots, with the hope that they will be allowed to build in the near future. They put potential buyers warned against unscrupulous promoters or agents that can make people believe that the development will be permitted later.

"Nothing is guaranteed. If your intention is to build the future, then agricultural grinds are not for you, because they lack basic infrastructure and are not intended for residential use. But if you want to plant and grow your money with the hope of selling the land in the future, so take advantage of the opportunity. " Some banks offer loan facilities for the acquisition of agricultural land in these developments.

The conversion of land

A 'Land Conversion Permit is required to develop agricultural land. The application is made to the 'Land Conversion Unit' of the Ministry of Agro-industry. If the application is complete, it is reviewed by members of the 'Land Conversion Committee' which must give notice within 15 days. The request is then processed by the committee and if there is no objection, the Committee recommends the request.

After the plans are checked, the file is submitted to the Minister, if approved, refers to the Cabinet to give its final nod. A 'Land Conversion Tax is payable except for exempted projects. Note that a field with a maximum area of one hectare is exempt from the 'Land Conversion Permit', provided that the owner owns the land on September 30, 2005 or before. All hectare of land or less, acquired after that date are not eligible for exemption. Similarly, land in an irrigation area is not eligible.

Tax Exemption

Article 29 of the Sugar Industry Efficiency Act provides an exemption from the 'Land Conversion Tax' in many cases. Among the eligible projects, there are those on the Agro-industry, construction of schools and health facilities, the development of industrial zones and installation of power plants and some residential projects (eg RSV) among others.


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