Service Providers

FSA

MCIA > Farmers Service Agency

Farmers Service Agency - FSA

Background

The Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA) was established as a body corporate on December 15, 2011 and came into force by proclamation on March 19, 2012. Under the Act, the Farmers Service Agency (FSA) has taken over the mandate and functions of the former Farmers Service Corporation.

At present there are seven FSCs around the island which are located in Saint Felix, Union Park (South), Saint Pierre (Centre/West), L’Unite, Bon Accueil (East) and Solitude and Riviere Du Rempart (North). The latter came back in service since July 2020.

It is to be noted that, the first Farmers Service Centre (FSC) started operations in 1986 to offer specialised extension and training services to sugarcane planters.

 

Location of FSCs in Mauritius

 

FSC Phone Email FSC Phone Email
Saint Pierre (Head Office) 433-1788 saintpierre.fsc@mcia.mu Rose Belle 677-8591 rosebelle.fsc@mcia.mu
Bon Accueil 418-5678 bonaccueil.fsc@mcia.mu Saint Felix 622-6601 saintfelix.fsc@mcia.mu
L’Unite 416-5084 unite.fsc@mcia.mu Solitude 261-5184 solitude.fsc@mcia.mu
Riviere Du Rempart 409-0757 rivieredurempart.fsc@mcia.mu

Objectives of the FSA

The objectives of the department are to:

  • Ensure that essential services are available to planters;
  • Promote the setting up of cane nurseries and the supply of cane setts to planters; and
  • Facilitatethe adoption of modern and efficient agricultural practices by planters

 

Functions of the FSA

The functions of the department are to:

  • Provide technical advice, assistance and training to planters on cane cultivation, harvesting and transport of cane and post- harvest operations.
  • Manage agricultural land and, in particular, abandoned fields in FORIP or such other similar projects.
  • Enter into management contracts on behalf of planters.
  • Devise agricultural credit schemes in consultation with financing agencies.
  • Ensure that arrangements are made so that cane of small planters are harvested at their optimal sucrose content.
  • Assist cooperative societies in benefitting from the Fair Trade initiative or such other similar projects.

 

Organisational Structure and Operations

The FSA is headed by a Director who is supported by a team of managers who are responsible for the day-to-day running of 6 Farmers Service Centres around the island. The department is manned by a total of 60 staff out of which 36 constitute the technical cadre.

The FSA is responsible for the implementation of several support schemes aiming at improving the productivity of small sugar cane planters, namely through the:

 

The FSA executes its extension and training programme through the following activities offered in the Farmers Service Centres around the island:

  • Field Visits
  • Conducted Tours and Demonstration sites
  • Group Meetings
  • Planters Information Meetings
  • Soil Sampling and fertiliser recommendations
  • Visit by Planters to FSC
  • Liaison Meetings
  • Planters Vocational Training

Schemes for small planters

1. Seed Cane Subsidy Scheme

Description

Planters pay a subsidized rate on cane planting materials and the amount payable varies with the period of plantation.

Eligibility

Price payable depends on ownership category and planting season.

 

Price of cane setts for financial year 2019-2020

 

 

Rs/tonne Planters growing up to 10 ha Planters growing
> 10 ha to 40 ha
Period Total Price Subsidy Price payable Subsidy Price payable
Short Season

16 June to 15 December

1475 1051 424 945 530
Long Season

16 December to 15 March

2581 1840 741 1655 926
Medium Season

16 March to 15 June

1844 1315 529 1183 661

*Price effective as from 16 June 2019

Procedure

Before planting, planters call in person at the FSC in their region with the latest SIFB registration card and National Identity Card. They are directed to appropriate Nursery with an authorisation letter and a weighbridge form.

2. Nursery Establishment Scheme

Description

A package of incentives is offered to planters replanting their fields under specific conditions and in accordance with nursery establishment programme. The nursery owner sells his crop on cane planting material to other planters under the close supervision of the FSC and is paid a subsidy per ton cane sold.

Eligibility

Planter profile, field accessibility, soil type, variety adaptability are important criteria taken into consideration for eligibility.

Procedure

Based on demand forecast for setts and replanting rates in main cane growing regions, a number of fields under specific cane variety are selected and planters are requested to sign a nursery agreement. They have to submit their SIFB registration card and National Identity Card.

3. Sugar Cane Planters Regrouping Project (SPRP)

This scheme has been discontinued as from financial year 2019-2020 and replaced by the ALMS. Planters are encouraged to take advantage of the ALMS scheme whereby the government grant has increased by 17%. Please refer to ALMS section below.

Description

The SPRP aims at enhancing the cane and sugar yield as well as reducing the cost of production of the small planter. This project, which was initiated in 2006 and named as FORIP, has enabled planting of some 10274 ha of land cultivated by 10243 planters.

Eligibility

Under this project, planters owning up to 15 ha of sugarcane benefit from mechanical land preparation, cane setts of the recommended variety, fertilisers and herbicides as well as labour and transport for replanting their fields.

The following criteria are taken into consideration for eligibility:

1. Planter profile, field accessibility, soil type, variety

2. Productivity gains

Interested planters have to apply at the nearest FSC for this scheme prior to implementation.

Procedure

Based on site visit report by technical staff, approval is sought regarding budget and selection of contractors. The project is then initiated. Concerned planters are requested to sign a SPRP agreement. They have to submit their SIFB registration card and National Identity Card.

Planters Participation Scheme: Provision is also made for individual or groups of planters who wish to replant their fields themselves to do so against a refund of Rs 30,000.00 per arpent. This sum represents the cost of labour and transport and inputs such as fertilisers and weedicides required for replanting. The costs of mechanical land preparation and planting materials are borne by the project.

4. Agricultural Land Management System (ALMS)

Description

Under ALMS small planters are encouraged to renew their sugarcane plantations and to bring back under cultivation land previously abandoned.

Eligibility

1. Planters owning less than 15 ha (35.5 arpents) and who have completed 6 harvests under FORIPs and owners of abandoned cane lands and those who have never benefitted from any such scheme: category 1.

2. Planters having already previously benefitted from FORIP/SPRP, and who have experienced significant yield decrease and have not completed 6 harvests, and are still willing to renew their crop: category 2.

Procedure

Planters should call in person at the FSC in their region with the latest SIFB registration card, National Identity Card for signing ALMS agreement, prior to implementation.

1. After replanting their fields, eligible planters under category 1, benefit a cash grant of Rs 83,000 per ha. (90% of the total sum immediately after planting and balance amount 2 months later). Previously the grant for this category was Rs 71,000 per ha.

2. After replanting their fields, eligible planters under category 2, benefit a cash grant of Rs 58,500 per ha. (90% of the total sum immediately after planting and balance amount 2 months later). Previously, the grant for this category was Rs 50,000 per ha.

5. Road Mending Scheme

Description

The purpose of the road mending scheme is to improve cane field access roads of small planters in difficult conditions. It includes supply of and laying of rough stones to repair potholes in main access roads, rehabilitation of main drains, and construction of culverts and bridges for the benefit of groups of planters within the locality. This scheme is financed through the Planters Fund created after the closure of a sugar factory under the Blue Print.

  Eligibility

1. The slope of the land should be more than 8%

2. High rainfall (> 2500 mm) regions are prioritised.

3. Number of planters using the access road and tonnage of cane produced from the locality are important criteria for eligibility.

Procedure

Planters should call in person at the FSC in their region with the latest SIFB registration card, National Identity Card. A project proposal is prepared

6. Fertiliser Subsidy Scheme

Description

At the time of a new plantation planters are given a subsidy on fertilisers amounting to Rs 1,485 / arpent or Rs 3,519 / ha.

Eligibility

Planters owning less than 4.22 ha and have financed their own replanting cost.

Fertilisers are refunded for a maximum of 2.11 ha once every 7 years.

 Procedure

After planting, planters should call in person at the FSC in their region with the latest SIFB registration card, National Identity Card and fertiliser purchase invoice.

Extension and Training activities at the FSCs

  • Field Visits

The main form of contact of the FSA with sugar cane planters is through field visits. Regular visits are carried out in the main cane growing areas by technical staff in order to monitor activities of planters in the field and to assess their problems. They are consequently advised on Good Agricultural Practices. Field visits are also carried out to implement the extension and training work programme of the department.

  • Conducted Tours and Demonstration sites

Conducted tours and demonstrations serve as main extension tools. Guided tours are organized for sugar cane planters in order to enhance their skills and knowledge about latest findings from research and on Good Agricultural Practices. Planters have the opportunity to see demonstration plots set up in fellow small planters fields. Typical demonstration plots include better performing sugar cane varieties, optimum fertiliser usage, and effective weed control as well as mechanised field operations in comparison with planters’ practices.

  • Group Meetings

Group meetings are carried out at regular intervals throughout the year to sensitize planters on subjects such as characteristics of newly released cane varieties, weed control, fertiliser use, cane fire prevention and management, harvest organization. The main objective is to impart technical information to small groups of planters to bridge specific knowledge gaps identified by technical staff.

  • Planters Information Meetings

Planters Information Meetings are organised for large gatherings of planters to apprise them on topics of such as new support measures announced Government or new facilities and incentives implemented by the MCIA or other stakeholders in the sugar industry.

  • Soil Sampling and Analysis

Small planters are advised to apply fertilisers following an assessment of the soil fertility status of plots earmarked for replanting.  The objective of this service is to apply the required amounts of nutrients for optimum sugar production and to ensure environmental protection.

To this effect, a free soil sampling and analysis is operated by the FSA in collaboration with the MSIRI Soil Chemistry Laboratory.

Upon request from planters, field staff collect soil samples from planters’ fields and send to the laboratory for chemical analysis. Appropriate fertilizer regimes and soil amendments are then communicated to concerned planters accordingly.

  • Visit by Planters to FSC

Planters visit the Farmers Service Centres throughout the year for technical advice for e.g. weed control, adaptation of cane varieties and information about various schemes in operation by the FSA or other institutions.

  • Liaison Meetings

Each FSC has  set up a Liaison Committee comprising planters representatives and planters advisers of the sugar mill in the different factory areas covered by the FSC, departments of the MCIA e.g. MSIRI, AMU, CAD and other stakeholders such as Police, Fire and Rescue Services. The objective of this committee, which is chaired by the FSC Manager, is to act as a platform for the sharing of information about current technical matters concerning sugar cane cultivation and to receive feedback from planters.

  • Planters Vocational Training

The FSA runs the Planters Vocational Training Programme (PVTP), which is designed to impart the latest recommendations, knowledge and skills required for improving productivity and competitiveness of sugar cane planters. It is adapted to meet the changing sugar industry landscape, and emphasises on the adoption of good agricultural practices in compliance with environmental and market norms. The training is aimed at all existing planters who express the desire to follow the course, in particular, individuals who are taking over the cultivation of sugar cane from their parents and individuals having acquired land and willing to grow sugar cane. The PVTP is of 24 hour duration and includes both theory and practical sessions. It covers a wide range of topics namely:

  • The Sugar Cane Plant and its Environment
  • Land Preparation and Planting
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Weed Control
  • Harvest and Transport
  • Basic Management and Record Keeping
  • Cane Analysis and Payment
  • Role of Institutions of the Sugarcane Industry.

At the end of the training, participants are awarded a Certificate of Attendance.

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Special support to Planter Associations in Fair trade initiatives

The FSA actively supports two Fair trade initiatives of planters regrouped in Cooperative Credit Societies (CCS) namely:

  • The Mauritius Fairtrade Cooperative Federation Limited, and
  • The Sustainable Development Project (Ferrero-Altromercato) Mauritius Project

It is to be noted that some 5000 sugar cane planters forming part of 63 CCS benefit premium prices of 60 USD and 40 Euro per tonne of sugar produced from Fairtrade International and Ferrero-Altromercato respectively. The FSA organises extension and training activities for members of both initiatives with the aim of providing the necessary support in order to fulfil the requirements of Fairtrade and Altromercato.