Jul 18, 2014

Workshop on Solar Dehydration of Fruits and Vegetables

The Faculty of Agriculture will organise a 3 day workshop from 23-25 July 2014 on solar dehydration. Prof Steele, from the US a fulbright scholar will be the lead trainer together with academic staff of the Faculty. The objectives  of the workshop  are (i) to provide an understanding on solar dehydration and its application in the food industry and (ii) to  empower participants with knowledge and skills to construct their own solar dehydrator. Solar dehydration of fruits and vegetables project fits very well in the MID concept of Mauritius. A technology which has not yet been fully implemented in Mauritius and which will be very beneficial for the small and medium food processor.



Prof Steele at work. He is now preparing the materials for constructing the soalr dryer.Photo taken on 16 July 2014

Prof Steele with Assoc Prof D Goburdhun, Coordinator and one of the local counter parts of the projects

Jul 6, 2014

100 Years Celebrations- Soft Launching of the FaceBook page.




Our facebook page for the 100 years celebrations is on test at this link. 


This page is a repository of some salient features of the evolution of the Faculty over time. You can view the chronology of the evolution of the Faculty either through the album of photos or the timeline through the years starting from 1914 to date. You are most welcome to comment and ask questions and make this FB a lively one and a worthy platform.

Make this page known to all your friends, colleagues and class mates.

Will be be able to get at least 100 likes by 14 August 2014 when the launching of the celebrations will start.

Wish you all a happy celebrations!!!!!!!! and Don't forget that your alma mater, without whom you may not be what you are today.

Jul 1, 2014

HRDC: Identifying new skills needs to service the agro-industry sector- June 2014


In the wake of changes operating in the agro-industry sector, a new revised set of skills and competencies is needed on the part of job seekers to address the new challenges ahead. On that score, a Skills Interface Platform for the agro-industry sector was held on Wednesday 25 June 2014 at NG Tower, Ebène at the initiative of the HumanResource Development Council (HRDC) to debate on the issue. Mr Shane Hurdowar and Prof Y.Fakim Jauferally, Dean of the Faculty attended the workshop.

The platform was attended by experts from both sides, employers and employees, to discuss the market demand and the supply of labour. It will also be an opportunity to have the views of employers and industry operators and training providers and universities.

The workshop focussed on key issues to examine whether educational institutions and training providers give job seekers with the opportunity to acquire the skills in agriculture required to operate in today's modern agricultural industries; the expectations of employers and job seekers. It was an opportunity for stakeholders to ensure that the agricultural curriculum is revised and updated.

According to HRDC, agriculture is more than just farming the land and rearing animals. It is the lifeblood of the country as well as a source of food, animal feed and even provides fuel. In addition, the multi-functionality of agriculture today includes mitigating climate change, regulating water, controlling erosion and providing habitats for wildlife. The sector generated 3.4 % of the country's GDP in 2012 compared to 3.6 % in 2011. Employment in the sector edged up by 0.2% from 47 300 in 2011 to 47 400 in 2012.

However, many people, including youths, have a negative perception of the industry. Findings of the recent HRDC survey on skills shortage have shown that 59% of employers in the agro-industry sector feel that Mauritius is experiencing labour shortage at national level. Hence, the need to create the necessary awareness on career options relating to research, environmental management, engineering, financial management and other technical areas.

The specific objectives of the workshop will be:
 

  • Have an overview of the current skills/situation and needs in the Agro-industry sector and also to come up with an updated list of scarcity areas for the sector;
  • Synergise collaboration between stakeholders of this sector by aligning the curriculum/training programmes more towards the requirements of large as well as small operators of this sector;
  • Find innovative ways and means for training institutions to include dynamic inputs into the design and delivery of new/ongoing training programmes to boost employability; and 
  • Propose training/skills development programmes and ways to minimize the information gap between industry and academia/training institutions, and contribute towards addressing specific skills mismatch.
The final outcome of the workshop will be for the HRDC to come up with short-term and medium-term training programmes that will address the skills requirements in the sector.

Workshop on Vulnerability Reserach Adaptation, ploicy and Development Project (GIVRAPD)

Objectives

  1. Address key data and knowledge gaps that have been a barrier to assessing vulnerability and community dialogue on climate change adaptation.
  2. Develop and evaluate practical local adaptation and climate compatible development portfolios that address community needs and avoid maladaptation.
  3. Facilitate the mainstreaming and scaling‐up of adaptation and climate compatible development into larger planning initiatives related to sustainable development.
  4. Establish scientific and professional networks, build capacity and empower communities.
  5. Examine and assess micro‐insurance as a viable adaptation and climate compatible development strategy.
Click here to read more

Jun 24, 2014

One of the most overlooked ingredients in farming exists right beneath farmers’ feet—healthy, fertile soils.

Source

One of the most overlooked ingredients in farming exists right beneath farmers’ feet—healthy, fertile soils.

Unfortunately, this vital ingredient is being degraded and eroded at unprecedented rates across the world. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 25 percent of the planet’s land is highly degraded and only 10 percent is improving.

All continents are experiencing land degradation, and the loss of soil quality is not only an issue for farmers, but for all of us.

Deforestation, for example, is causing China's Loess Plateau to erode rapidly. Overgrazing of grassland in the Western United States is reducing soil depth and creating desertification. In India, overcutting trees and crops is reducing soil fertility and threatening wild medicinal plants. And farmland ploughed for commercial agriculture around the world exposes topsoil and increases erosion. In fact, Brazil loses 55 million tons of topsoil every year because of soybean production.

But agriculture doesn’t have to degrade soils—it is possible for food production to enrich the Earth, restore nutrients, conserve water, and prevent further erosion.

Jun 22, 2014

Climate Smart Agriculture - Scoping Study for Mauritius

The Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius (FANRPAN Node Hosting Institution) is organizing, in collaboration with the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) a half-day validation workshop on Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Scoping Study in Mauritius on Thursday 26 June 2014 at 9.00 am at the R Burrenchobay Lecture Theatre, University of Mauritius. This workshop aims to bring stakeholders together from diverse backgrounds including Scientists, National Experts, Policy Makers, Academia, Representatives from vulnerable communities, Private Sector Representatives and NGOs to discuss options and validate a Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Scoping Study.

Contact Person

Mr Shane Hurdowar

Jun 20, 2014

FAO - Country Programne Framework for Mauritius 2014-2017

The Country Programming Framework (CPF) for Mauritius for the period 2014-2019 which establishes the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) support to Mauritius in agri-business development and agro value chain, promotion of sustainable agriculture for food security, and sustainable fisheries, amongst others, was signed on 17 June 2014 in Port Louis.
The signatories were the Minister of Agro Industry and Food Security, Attorney General, Mr Satya Veyash Faugoo, and the FAO representative accredited to the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, Mr Patrice Talla Takoukam.
The Framework sets out priorities for collaboration in the fields of agri-business development with focus on the strengthening of the enabling environment, as well as strategies, legal and management frameworks and institutional capacities for selected strategic value chains.
It also addresses the issue of sustainable agriculture for food security with focus on the strengthening of the enabling institutional environment related to land use management, early warning system for animal and plant diseases and pests, and agricultural statistics for improved evidence based decision making.
The Framework also deals with sustainable fisheries with focus on improving the enabling environment, policies and legal framework and institutional capacities for the promotion of sustainable aquaculture and off-lagoon fisheries.
In his address, Minister Faugoo underlined that Mauritius has indicated the most crucial areas of potential FAO’s assistance through setting clear priorities and areas of cooperation. The CPF, he recalled, addresses issues related to food and nutrition security, agricultural productivity and sustainable natural resource management, resilience of livelihoods to threats.
FAO is also providing support to Government for the conduct of the Census of Agriculture, stated the Minister, adding that the last census on agriculture was carried out in 1940. The aim of carrying out such a census is to strengthen the capacity of Government to develop a sustainable Food and Agriculture Statistics System so that planning and policy decision-making are based on timely and reliable data. The project which will kick off in July this year, will be executed jointly by Statistics Mauritius and the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security.
For his part, Mr Takoukam said that the collaboration between FAO and Mauritius is geared towards ensuring food security. He also stressed that the Government of Mauritius should be in the driving seat regarding the implementation of the priorities listed out in the CPF. FAO is here to provide technical assistance and to some extent, funding to Mauritius, he added. 
The CPF can also be used as a fund raising document since the Government of Mauritius can use it when seeking the collaboration of and funding from other international institutions for the implementation of these priorities, said Mr Takoukam. 
Source: GIS, Mauritius, 2014

“As you are all aware, we have a very privileged relationship with FAO. Infact, Mauritius is a member of the FAO since 1968, the year that Mauritus acceded to independence and has over the years benefited from several technical assistance programmes to implement several projects in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors”, a fait remarquer le ministre de l’Agro-industrie à cette occasion. Il a aussi déclaré que la FAO a accordé une assistance technique à Maurice pour effectuer un recensement dans le secteur de l’agriculture. “In fact, the last census of agriculture dates back to 1940 that is more than 70 years. The census has already been planned with the assistance of FAO in 2012 and the census will now be carried out as from July 2014 by Statistics of Mauritius”, a-t-il déclaré. Source Le Matinal, 2014.

Agricultural Transformation - The Case for Mauritius

A workshop to validate the draft Mauritius Country Case Study Report entitled “Rethinking Africa’s Agricultural and Rural  Transformation  in  the  Global  Context:  Challenges,  Opportunities  and  Strategic  Policy  Options - The  Case of Mauritius”, was held in 17 June 2014.  The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa had commissioned the Study  in five countries, namely, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Botswana and Mauritius, with a view to supporting the African Union, its institutions and Member States. 

The Report highlights the successful transformation of Mauritius from a low income per capita agro-based economy dominated by sugar to an upper middle income country due to prudent fiscal policies, macro-economic reforms and management and export diversification. 

The Study has also revealed that Mauritius has satisfied the five conditions underpinning the successful agricultural transformation, namely macro-economic and political stability, access to lucrative markets, transfer of knowledge, strongly protected ownership rights and employment creation and generation of income in the non-farm sectors.

Jun 13, 2014

Vallee d'Osterlog Endemic Garden - Inauguration




Courtesy BeachComber Magazine, May 2014
The Vallée d’Osterlog Endemic Garden located at Le Val, spanning 275 hectares of land and sanctuary of rich biodiversity with several species of endemic fauna and flora, was inaugurated on the 11 June 2014 by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security and Attorney General, Mr Satya Veyash Faugoo.

On that occasion, a Visitor’s Centre was inaugurated, and a Visitor’s Guide and a poster launched. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Dr Arvin Boolell and the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms, Mr Sutyadeo Moutia, were also present.
In his inaugural address, Minister Faugoo said that the Vallée d’Osterlog Endemic Garden is the first of its kind created and possibly the last as well since it is a unique place with many indigenous flora and fauna which cannot be found elsewhere. Already some 67 endemic plants have been identified and there are still more being discovered, he stated, adding that the vast biodiversity of the Valley has to be preserved, in line with the Maurice Ile Durable vision.

For his part, Minister Boolell said that the Valley has great potential and also holds immense value added which can be created. ‘It is important to give the site the visibility it deserves and hence enable one and all to appreciate the Valley’s flora and fauna which is unique in the world’, said Dr Boolell. There are a lot of international treaties and conventions which Mauritius has ratified which are in line with the protection of the environment as well as with the country’s resolve towards achieving sustainable development, he further stressed.

In his speech, Minister Moutia qualified the Valley as a jewel, and also highlighted the importance of protecting the environment and keeping the Valley as natural as possible.

Vallée D’Osterlog
The native forests which originally covered most of Mauritius have almost completely disappeared except for a few inaccessible areas which have been spared the onslaught of deforestation. These remaining forests still hold a great diversity of plant species of great conservation value.