Since the industrialization of Mauritius, the Agricultural Sector has evolved from a mono-sugar industry into a multi-agro products much oriented towards exportation. Today, the agro sector has emerged into the following five sub-sectors:
This sector has evolved from a mono-crop sector producing white sugar to a diversified cane industry producing special sugars, alcohol, molasses and ethanol. With the dismantling of a guaranteed price and abolishing quota with EU on sugar export, this sector is positioning itself by offering 15 types of special sugars, molasses and alcohol for exports. This sector has also re-engineered itself to produce electricity from bagasse, ensuring sustainability in energy production. Today the export of special sugar has increased to 120,000 tons targeting niche markets in some 45 countries. Presently, the country is producing around 400,000 tons of sugar which is also being exported under the fair-trade label. Special sugars being produced include Demerara, Golden Granulated, Light and Dark Muscovado, amongst others. Special sugars are used in a variety of food products including cereals, dairy products, dry baking mixes, beverages, preserves and jellies, ethnic cuisine, snacks, cookies and baby foods.
Mauritius has a total maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometres with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.96 million square kilometres and a continental shelf of 396,000 square kilometres co-managed with the Republic of Seychelles. The Mauritius seafood hub has facilities for trading, transhipment, storage and warehousing, processing, distribution and re-export of fresh chilled and frozen raw or value-added seafood products.
Fish products includes canned tuna, pre-cooked vacuum-packed tuna loins, frozen tuna loins/steaks, frozen fish fillets, fresh chilled whole fish/fish fillets, smoked fish, salted fish, fish oil and fish meal. The seafood processing sector has generated 6,000 direct employment and 10,000 indirect employment created from its ancillary services.
- Spirits and Beverages
Historically, in 1638 when sugar cane was introduced in Mauritius from Java, the island settlers were producing “arrack” a precursor to rum. With the diversification of the sugar industry, sugar producers have opted for distilling sugar cane to produce alcohol as well as industrial rum from molasses. Distillation of cane juice is also being done to produce agricultural, flavoured and island recipe rums. Other spirits being manufactured includes island wine, beer, vodka and liqueurs.
- Fresh Produce
In view of the diversification of the agricultural sector, local farmers have diversified into production of a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as plant foliage’s. Queen Victoria pineapple and fresh lychee are the main fruits being exported. Other fruits with export potentials include breadfruits, avocadoes and passion fruits.
Besides, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers such as anthuriums, flower bouquets and plants foliage’s and branches are also being exported to EU, Japan, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, United States and Canada.
- Processed Foods
The Mauritius industrial set up also include the agro food processing industry which adds value to a variety of agro products. The major products include animal feed and fish pellets, edible oil, wheat flour, margarine, instant noodles, pasta, black tea, canned vegetables, biscuits and waffles, sugar confectionary and cake decorations, amongst others. The food industry also comprises SMEs who are involved in the manufacturing of a range of products such as spices, pickles and chutneys, fruits paste, jams and marmalade, salted banana chips and frozen pre-cooked snacks that gives an authenticity to the unique Mauritian tastes.