Mauritius is a small island to the east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Sugar was introduced into Mauritius by the Dutch in the first half of the 17th century but became a major industry on Mauritius in the middle of the s, when it was controlled by the French. All of the labour came from slaves and indentured workers. The British took Mauritius from the French in and went about further expanding the sugar industry, shipping inindentured workers from India over the next one hundred years. The descendants of this immigrant community define modern-day Mauritius: today nearly half of the population is Hindu, making it the country with the third highest Hindu population by percentage in the world after Nepal and India. Another huge unanswered question is whether Mauritian sugar farmers will have to pay tariffs to export sugar to the UK after Brexit. The subsidies given to the EU sugar beet farmers make competition even harder. In the face of such challenges, the Fairtrade premium is crucial to the sugar farmers of Mauritius. The sugar farmers use makee premium to benefit their cooperatives, their communities and aot to support their farming livelihoods. Many cooperatives subsidise transport costs and harvesting costs, as well as seeking to invest in diversification and improved farming techniques.
Mauritian farmers have become fair trade certified and have begun farming in a more environmentally sustainable way. This is because a large number of farmers here on this Indian Ocean island have become fair trade certified. Fair trade is a social movement that promotes just terms for farmers and workers and encourages sustainability in the developing world. Fair trade certified products also usually command a higher price than regular ones because of the high standards and ethics involved in producing them. Products labelled fair trade generally sell well in Europe and the United States because they meet agreed international environmental, labour and developmental standards. There are some 3, products that fall under the label, including sugar, coffee, spices, vanilla and bananas. Consumers willingly pay more for fair trade products, a premium of dollars per tonne in the case of sugar, above the normal price of about dollars per tonne. The society has almost five hectares of land under pineapple cultivation in Long Mountain, northern Mauritius. The fair trade movement began here in , with 4, farmers from 32 cooperative societies. That year they earned , dollars in income, compared to , dollars in , when fewer farmers were members.
The sugar cane and its seasonal fireworks — a sudden explosion of dusty color just above the 3-meter-high, or foot-high, cane — have been a big part of island life since the 17th century. Dutch colonizers started growing sugar cane for the production of arrack, a strong, clear, distilled liquor they had discovered in Southeast Asia. But fierce global competition, the rise of new cane-growing superpowers — China, Pakistan and Brazil — and waning preferred treatment from the European market have taken their toll on sugar prices. This perfect storm is leading sugar cane farmers here to look for ways to shore up their income, and their future. While some smaller farmers have simply abandoned their land, larger commercial farms are starting to look for alternatives — from tourism to real estate sales to, increasingly, higher-value crops that can be sold around the world at premium prices. Having tried livestock feeds like alfalfa, soybeans and corn, Mr. Rountree, whose farm sits on the lush southern side of the island, stumbled on something promising: a premium rice, destined for health-conscious and well-off consumers in Europe and the United States. While Mighty Rice, as it is called, was developed by cross-pollination in Bangladesh, its slick black-and-white packaging exalts the volcanic soil and rain-fed streams of Mauritius — marketing the benefits of the place it is grown as much as the food. Sugar, by contrast, has an average yield of eight tons per hectare. The retail price for Mighty Rice is higher as well. The company has produced 1, tons of rice in one year and is poised to sell some 40, ounce bags in the United States — so far its main export market.
Over the last twenty years, Mauritius has undergone major structural changes from an agricultural mono-crop economy with a rapidly growing population, high unemployment and low per capita incomes to a situation characterised by fairly stable population growth, near-full employment and an economy which is undergoing rapid diversification with the emergence of new sources of growth in export manufacturing and tourism. Rapid economic growth, besides creating employment, also altered the occupational structure of the country. In , the number of people employed in the agricultural sector was 2. In , this ratio had fallen to 1. Mauritius is heavily dependent for its food supplies on imports. There has been a definite improvement in the education levels of the labour force over the last twenty years largely as a result of the introduction of free education in The proportion of workers with no eduction has been reduced to a negligible level and the proportion of those with secondary education has doubled over the same period. The country has a comprehensive social security assistance system with a wide coverage which may be under threat due to the high recurrent expense. The current Government’s rural development policies emphasise improving the agricultural productivity of smallholders and encouraging agricultural diversification whilst paying due attention to natural resource conservation and rural employment creation. In this connection it was decided that a completion evaluation of the project could contribute to the process of defining a conceptual and strategic framework for future IFAD assistance in Mauritius.
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The economy of Mauritius is a mixed developing economy based on agriculture, exports, financial services, and tourism. In terms of energy, Mauritius’ endowment with alternative energy resources and good governance makes it one of the potential winners in the global transition to renewable energy and the country is ranked no. In , Professor James Meade painted a bleak picture of the economic prospects of Mauritius, which then had a population of , All the disadvantages associated with smallness of island states weighed heavily in his conviction that Mauritius was caught in a Malthusian trap and, therefore, if economic progress could at all be achieved, it would be to a very limited extent. Since independence in , Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, ICT and tourist sectors. This compares very favourably with other sub-Saharan African countries and is largely due to sustained progress in economic conditions; between and , growth averaged 4. The government’s development strategy centers on expanding local financial institutions and building a domestic information telecommunications industry. Top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius from January to December, are electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement and gypsum products and services sector financial and non-financial. The economy has shown a considerable degree of resilience, and an environment already conducive to dynamic entrepreneurial activity has moved further toward economic freedom. A transparent and well-defined investment code and legal system have made the foreign investment climate in Mauritius one of the best in the region. Taxation is competitive and efficient.
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. In the s and early s Mauritius experienced very high rates of natural population growth peaking at 3. The total fertility rate alor from 6. Currently, because of its young age structure, the population is still growing by 1 percent annually despite subreplacement fertility in the mids. The fertility decline in Mauritius occurred in the absence of economic growth and may be does farming make alot of money in mauritius mostly to improved female educational status and active family planning programs Lutz, During aalot s gross national product GNP per capita started to increase slowly as a consequence of improvements in sugar cane yields, which was the primary product of the economy. The big boom in export-oriented industry, especially textiles, came later, in the s, when for some years Mauritius even experienced double-digit growth rates in its GNP.