Sep 10, 2018

GLIMPSES OF CLASSES - DIPLOMA IN AGRICULTURE, RODRIGUES

The Diploma in Agriculture is currently being run for 26 technical staff of the Commission for Agriculture. This programme aims to upgrade knowledge of in-service staff of the various agricultural institutions in Rodrigues with a broad spectrum of scientific, technical and managerial skills needed to contribute to the future success of agriculture


The changing socio-economic pattern of Rodrigues has led to an increasing demand for agricultural production of quality and safe food. Agricultural production is now increasingly being characterised by the use of new technologies. It is the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) policy and vision for the adoption of a technology-based approach to render the local agricultural sector more productive, market-driven, sustainable and competitive whilst responding to the environmental and ethical standards demanded by society.

The further development of agriculture and its related industries is challenging and requires appropriate knowledge, skills and technology concepts to keep pace with the latest technological developments in that sector. This has led to the need for well-trained agricultural scientists who have the technical and practical skills in addition to in-depth knowledge of the science to meet these new challenges facing the Rodriguan agriculture.





Sep 1, 2018

Prof Lalljee retires from the University of Mauritius

PROF B.LALLJEE 



Professor B Lalljee retired on the 1st September 2018 after having spent almost 29 years of meritorious service at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius, which he joined on 12 September 1989. He has contributed to the Faculty and University with dedication and enthusiasm. His career started when he joined the Agricultural Chemistry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture. During his time at the University, he was Head of Department, Director of the Centre for Consultancy and Research, and member of Senate. Prof Lalljee has been instrumental in guiding the Faculty to mount innovative undergraduate courses in sustainable agriculture (e.g organic farming), which are much in the limelight these days. His foresight is bearing its fruit, as we have trained human capacity who are now promoting these practices.

he has served on many National, Regional and International committees. He was known to be a frequent traveller as he was much solicited to give addresses at conferences and to present his research papers. Despite his heavy teaching and research commitments, he made time to devote to numerous consultancies related to agricultural development, climate change, air pollution, among others, not only for Mauritius but Rodrigues as well.

In one of his note of appreciation emails, he said that “I might be retired from the UOM but I am not tired as a scientist”. So to our indefatigable colleague, We wish you all the best for a great retirement - time for you now to take your time.

Aug 30, 2018

Increasing the resilience of small farmers to the effects of climate change- Grant to Faculty of Agriculture

Prof Sunita Facknath ( on the Right), from the Faculty of Agriculture, recipient of one of the grant awards for the project
The Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security and the Delegation of the European Union have awarded three new grants to the University of Mauritius, the Irrigation Authority and the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture for the implementation of climate adaptation actions. Projects aim at promoting climate smart agriculture initiatives among smallholders in Mauritius and Rodrigues. They will be implemented over 3 years.

The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, Marjaana Sall said:
- "The European Union is committed in making the Paris Agreement work and in supporting our partners in implementing it. Today's grants to increasing resilience of small farmers to the effects of climate change bear testimony of EU's strong partnership with Mauritius to fight climate change."

The Minister of Agro Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun said:
- “As an island state, Mauritius is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  This has a direct impact on the agricultural sector because our farming activities are directly exposed to climatic conditions. We urgently need to adopt climate smart agricultural practices to increase resilience of our small planters to the effects of climate change to ensure food security”

During the ceremony, three grants for a total amount of more than 50 million Rupees were awarded to the University of Mauritius, the Irrigation Authority and the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture for the implementation of their projects, namely: i) Transformation of Belle Mare into a Climate-Smart Agriculture village for climate resilience, food security, and poverty alleviation of its farmers; ii) Improving Resilience of Small Holders to the effect of climate change; and iii) Smart Agriculture: Transition towards agro ecological climate-resilient food cropping systems in Mauritius.

Memorial Kishore Mundil

TRIBUTE TO OUR COLLEAGUE - KISHORE MUNDIL 
 
It was with a great shock and sadness that we heard of the sudden demise of Kishore Mundil on Monday 30th July 2018. In fact, he left his beloved ones on Thursday 26th July 2018 at his residence in Solférino, Vacoas. It was indeed very hard to believe that Kishore, as he was fondly known to some of us at the University, was no more, as many of us have known him as our lecturer, our academic colleague, our Head of Department and our Dean, at the Faculty of Agriculture. Moreover, he was also a well-known public figure in Mauritius. In whatever role we knew him, Kishore was one of those few people with a ‘unique’ and ‘brilliant’ personality, not leaving anyone indifferent.
Kishore Mundil was born on the 30th June 1950, at St Francois Xavier, Port-Louis. He affectionately used to share with his colleagues that he was born in the middle of the year, in the middle of the 20th century, poised to meet the challenges of the 21st century. He attended the Pamplemousses Government School before he joined le Champ de Lort School in Port Louis to complete his primary schooling. He won a seat at the Royal College of Port Louis for his secondary studies, after he successfully competed for the ‘Petite Bourse.’ After completing his HSC, he gave French Lessons at the US Embassy. In 1971 Kishore Mundil left for the University of Reading, UK, for his undergraduate studies and graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Economics in 1974.

Aug 9, 2018

Vacancy - Assistant de projet- Smart Agriculture





La Chambre d'Agriculture recrute un Assistant de Projet pour Smart Agriculture. Le recrutement du présent poste se fait dans l’objectif de faciliter le travail entrepris par le FAREI dans le cadre de l’animation des deux sous-réseaux de planteurs, et faciliter les échanges d’informations entre le FAREI et la MCA. Il sera donc encadré par un responsable du projet à la MCA et devra assister et organiser les réunions du projet entre MCA et FAREI.

Compétences recherchées :

- Aptitudes relationnelles, capacité à communiquer facilement
- Capacité et volonté de travailler en équipe
- Capacités rédactionnelles
- Aisance informatique : logiciels bureautiques basiques et bases de données
- Rigueur et autonomie
- Connaissances de bases en agroécologie, et intérêt pour le sujet
- Connaissances en agriculture tropicale (légumes, problématiques rencontrées…)
Niveau scolaire : BSc en agriculture

Cliquer ici pour des informations supplementaires

Pour plus de détails merci d’envoyer votre candidature (CV et lettre de motivation) à vacancy.mca@gmail.com avant le 22 août 2018.

Jun 26, 2018

Visit by Ms Elvina Smith, Lecturer from CUT, South Africa

"Ms Elvina Smith, Lecturer, Central University of Technology (CUT), Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa, was at the Faculty of Agriculture, from the 18th June 2018 to 25th June 2018, in the context of her PhD study on entrepreneurship education in the field of environmental health, food hygiene and safety. During her visit, Ms Elvina Smith interviewed academics and students of the Faculty of Agriculture. She also had the opportunity to meet the Senior Management of the University of Mauritius, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and key informants from external organisations in the public and private sectors. Ms Elvina Smith delivered a very "enterprising" presentation entitled "Higher Education: South Africa, Sweden and Mauritius, a road towards entrepreneurship", on Monday 25 June 2018 at the Faculty of Agriculture. The aim of her research is to learn from entrepreneurship education in South Africa, Sweden and Mauritius to develop an alternate syllabus in food safety to contribute to improved job skills and innovative ways to address unemployment."

Contributor: Mrs Esha Aumjaud, Faculty of Agriculture














Aquaponics : an alternative and sustainable technology for farming

In the Budget 2018-19, the Minister of Finance Pravind Jugnauth announced that the government will provide funds for the sensitisation and training of households in aquaponics for the production of water adaptive vegetables in freshwater ponds and basins and that the Albion Fisheries Research Centre will provide fish fingerlings freely for the aquaponics projects. Aquaponics is considered as an alternative and sustainable technology for the Mauritian farming industry and an economic alternative for the importation of food crops. Stakeholders share with News on Sunday their views on the feasibility of the measure announced and how to promote Aquaponics in Mauritius.

Sunita Facknath, Professor in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Mauritius: “The measure must be accompanied by local research to determine the right type of aquaponics”

sunita
What are your views about the measure announced in the Budget?
It will help in increasing the share of animal protein in people’s diet, and fish is a good and healthy source of protein and good cholesterol. People will also have fresh and healthy vegetables grown in the aquaponics system.It is also an environmentally friendly way to increase food production while making optimum use of available water, of available space, growing vegetables with little or no fertilisers added, and avoiding the pollution caused by dumping effluent water from aquaculture into the environment.
Do you believe that this measure is sufficient enough to promote aquaponics?
The training and awareness-raising is a start. For it to bear the envisaged fruits, it must be accompanied by local research to determine the right type of aquaponics. There are several ways in which aquaponics can be set up. We need to determine which set-up and type is most suitable for different purposes in the Mauritian context. We need to determine the appropriate conditions, in terms of the water quality, the species and type of vegetables and fish which can be grown in such systems, the number of fish that can be placed in a given size of tank, the safety aspects of the vegetables and fish in the aquaponics system, among others.
What additional measures do you believe should be introduced and why?
In the near future, other measures will have to be considered - establishment of standards and norms for the quality of vegetables and fish emanating from aquaponics, registration of aquaponic businesses for traceability purposes, subsidies on the inputs required, fiscal incentives to those practicing aquaponics as a business, training of extension staff so they can provide right advice and guidance to those practicing aquaponics, and so on.
The Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Mauritius is currently working on a research project on aquaponics, to determine the optimum water quality, species of vegetables and fish to grow together in the aquaponics system, the appropriate density of the fish, the right filter quality, and other similar parameters. This project will provide the necessary data to help us establish a bigger, field level aquaponics unit, and we will be looking for partners in the public and private sectors to partner with us on this bigger project. Source; News On Sunday 23 June 2018

Jun 20, 2018

Tackling Climate Change in Agriculture: Approaches to climate change adaptation and climate smart agriculture in SADC

Mauritius TrainingThis week  CCARDESA in collaboration with the University of Mauritius is implementing a regional training course on Tackling climate change in agriculture: approaches to climate change adaptation in agriculture and climate smart agriculture. The training was officially launched by Professor Dhanjay Jhurry, CSK, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius. In his opening speech, he highlighted climate change as major concern not only to the agricultural sector in Mauritius. Prof. Jhurry reminded the audience that the world needs to shift to a more sustainable use of resources to reduce GHG and thus protect the biodiversity of the planet. This requires more investment for research and development. He emphasised the importance of strengthening the capacity of all stakeholders in the Mauritius agricultural sector to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.

 

Associate Professor Daneshwar Puchooa, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Mauritius in his opening speech remarked on climate-smart agriculture as a key approach to increasing agricultural production in the context of climate change. The Faculty of Agriculture (FoA) therefore strives to prepare their graduates and stakeholders from society for the science and private sector and updates its programmes to meet the needs. Finally, Dr Wiebke Foerch, programme officer for the SADC programme on adaptation to climate change in rural areas in southern Africa (ACCRA), has been representing CCARDESA at this event. She highlighted the impacts of climate change on agriculture in the SADC Region and elaborated on the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy, which provides the policy framework for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agriculture sector and calls for policy harmonisation with national policies.

 

The training is being implemented by the University of Mauritius in collaboration with CCARDESA and with support of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ). The objective is to strengthen the capacity of the SADC member states for climate change adaptation in agriculture and climate smart agriculture. It is a 5-day training of agriculture research and extension officers from FAREI, research officers from the University of Mauritius, and agro-business representatives. The training brings together technical expertise with the Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation Climate Proofing Tool, as well as a field excursion and interactive group work.

 

To learn more about the CCARDESA training package on Tackling climate change in agriculture, click here. To see previous CCARDESA trainings, visit here. To learn more about the Training in Mauritius, stay tuned.


This article was written by  Dr Wiebke Foerch. Dr Foerch is a Programme officer for the SADC programme on adaptation to climate change in rural areas in southern Africa (ACCRA) which is being implemented by CCARDESA in collaboration with GIZ.

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