Mauritius imports a large part of its food, including basic products such as rice, vegetables and fruits. However, this dependence exposes the country to international price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. How to ensure our food security and become more self-sufficient. Point.

For several years, food self-sufficiency has been at the heart of debates in Mauritius, mainly due to our massive dependence on imports. In fact, more than 75% of what we consume is imported, while we produce less than 25% of our food needs. This situation weakens our food security and exposes us to external hazards, as evidenced by the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the repercussions of international conflicts, such as that between Ukraine and Russia.

For years, alarms have been raised about the island's vulnerability to these external risks. Many people believe that it is high time for the country to seriously focus on this issue in order to no longer passively suffer the harmful effects of our excessive dependence on imports. It is estimated that by investing in local production, encouraging sustainable agriculture and supporting initiatives aimed at strengthening our food self-sufficiency, our country could ensure better resilience to future challenges and guarantee stable and secure food for the population. .

Kreepalloo Sunghoon, of the Small Planters Association, Salil Roy, president of the Planters Reform Association, as well as Soorajen Manikon, general secretary of the Association of Independent Planters, discuss existing problems and propose solutions.

Kreepalloo Sunghoon: “a strategic plan is necessary to revitalize the agricultural sector”


Local production in decline

Local production has declined to less than 20%, leading to increased dependence on imports of products such as potatoes, onions, garlic and milk. Green vegetables are still produced locally, but volumes have fallen and prices have increased. We consume 24,000 tonnes of potatoes, but we only produce half of them. The same goes for onions with a consumption of 17,000 tonnes and a production of only 7,000 tonnes. In my opinion, efforts to ensure food security are present, however they remain insufficient. For basic products like rice, flour and oil, we have no choice but to continue importing. Mauritius does not produce meat and therefore depends on imports. For chicken and eggs, the country is self-sufficient. On the other hand, in my opinion, for vegetables, a strategy must be developed to maintain and increase this self-sufficiency.

Lack of strategy

I deplore the lack, or even absence, of a clear strategy for agricultural production. It is essential to determine the quantity to be produced and local capacities to avoid a shortage. Farmland, once used for crops like potatoes, is now being concreted over for real estate development.

Several solutions have been proposed to develop agricultural clusters on approximately 500-600 acres with all the necessary infrastructure for sorting, storage and processing of products. I am of the opinion that an adequate supply of water and a change towards modern production methods such as hydroponics or cultivation under cover are also essential.

Structural problems

You should know that a large part of agricultural land (60 to 70%) is rented by the government or private owners, making investment uncertain for planters. For me, the training of agricultural entrepreneurs and the establishment of storage systems for perishable products are important to ensure the continuity of production, especially in periods of unfavorable climate.

Lack of follow-up

15-20 years ago, the Ministry of Agro-industry, through the National Monitoring Committee for the non-sugar sector, effectively resolved production problems. However, today, this type of support is absent, which has led to an increase in imports of agricultural products.


I am advocating for a strategic plan, which I believe is necessary to revitalize the agricultural sector and achieve 40% food self-sufficiency. In conclusion, I would say that it is essential to promote farmers and provide them with insurance and pension plans to secure their investments and their retirements.

Good to know

118,632 tonnes of food wasted every year

Even though the prices of food products continue to rise and exacerbate the problem of insecurity, waste is still there. Mauritius is no exception. It is estimated that 118,632 tonnes of food are wasted in the country each year. A high figure considering the size of the country and the population. This also implies that 225.7 kilos of food are wasted every minute in Mauritius.

Salil Roy: “the agricultural potential is there, but it is not exploited”


Grand order

Without a shadow of a doubt, I think we need to bring great order to the sector which faces multiple challenges, but which has several opportunities. To revitalize it and ensure the country's food security, there are several solutions.

Abandoned lands

There is a lot of abandoned land across the island. They are fertile, but they are not exploited optimally. When it comes to vegetables, this situation is particularly worrying. To strengthen food security, it is essential to put in place major agricultural plans not only for vegetables, but also for livestock.

Excessive imports

I think it is not normal that Mauritius has so much agricultural land and imports a large quantity of food products. This situation contributes to the cost of living with inflation and the depreciation of the rupee. Moreover, this over-reliance on imported products was highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the country was almost closed and people started planting again. The potential exists, but there is a lack of firm initiative from the ministry and I find it distressing.

To begin, you must create local seeds and implement agricultural plans on small plots of land. The agricultural potential is there, but it is not exploited. If this situation persists, it will have serious consequences.

Preservation of fertile lands

I believe it is important to stop concreting fertile land. Then, in my opinion, agriculture is important. However, we must also focus on traditional breeding of cattle, sheep and kids. I recognize that there is a major drilling problem, but we must restart these activities.

I call for in-depth reflection and concrete actions to transform Mauritian agriculture.”

Circular economy

By integrating the breeding of animals to produce manure and the cultivation of vegetables, we can create a circular economy. You have to think strategically and not just make announcements without follow-up. For example, products such as carrots, cauliflower and onions are 75% imported, whereas with a good food policy, Mauritius could produce them locally.


Over time, I fear that Mauritius will become a concrete jungle despite its many fertile lands. I hope for a reversal of the trend with new production methods, including AI. At the end of the day, despite much talk about smart farming, it is sad to see that little concrete materializes.

Incentives and policies

For me, it is undeniable that we must have competent people in strategic positions. Some products, such as chicken and eggs, are produced locally, but not 100%, because corn is still imported. Tax incentives could further encourage local production of several products. There is potential, but it is not fully used.

Seeds and labor

Salil Roy also believes that the production of local seeds could benefit from increased support. A solid agricultural policy is essential. Sugar landowners should be forced to devote part of their land to agriculture and vegetable cultivation, as labor and resources are available. Thus, I call for in-depth reflection and concrete actions to transform Mauritian agriculture and ensure a secure and sustainable food future for the country.

Soorajen Manikon:
“We need motivating training to encourage young people to get involved in agriculture”

In my opinion, there is a strong discouragement among planters in recent times, with many lands left abandoned. However, it is imperative to analyze and motivate planters so that they return to the land. As motivation, it is necessary to provide them with appropriate incentives while identifying and addressing the constraints they face. The high cost of fertilizers and larger investments than before are major obstacles. In addition, theft from vegetable and livestock plantations strongly discourages planters.

The new generation shows little interest in traditional agriculture, leading to a labor shortage. To counter this problem, incentives, such as fertilizer subsidies, are needed to attract new planters. Steps also need to be taken to reduce theft, perhaps by making laws tougher.

Training and services

For me, it is essential to offer motivating training to young people to encourage them to get involved in agriculture. In addition, the services offered to planters should be reviewed, as well as the objectives of agricultural institutions established for years, in order to better meet the current needs of the sector.

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