Vita Rice: Rice Harvest in Mauritius

May 25, 2012

Defi Media
Shaffick Hamuth

Rice Harvest in Mauritius – A Dream Come True

The rice adventure begins. Three years after setting a rice farming project in the South East of Mauritius, Vita Rice is now harvesting its first crop. A yield of about 1,000 to 1,200 tons is expected.

Seven rice-harvesting machines were in full swing on Monday over the vast rice fields at Cluny. Vita Grain, the Singapore-based group decided to prospect Mauritius back in 2008, when the world food crisis was at its peak. It has succeeded, through its two subsidiaries in Mauritius, Vita Rice Limited and Green Island Rice Limited, to produce premium low glycemic index rice for domestic consumption and for export.

The group currently cultivates about 330 hectares of land leased by Rose Belle Sugar Estate, and plans to add another 170 hectares to this. It also intends to promote rice farming among farmers who have abandoned sugar cane plantations by providing technical assistance and a guaranteed rice purchase price through its Rice Outgrower Scheme to cover about 2,000 hectares.

Farmers and agricultural cooperatives present at the harvest opening ceremony on Monday showed a been interest in this new venture which is a viable alternative to declining sugar prices. Agricultural Minister Satish Faugoo and Foreign Affairs Minister Arvin Boolell were also present. Rice cultivation is in line with the objective of the government to increase our food security by reducing our dependence on imports. It is expected that Mauritius will produce one-third of its rice needs by 2014, as well as export to Singapore.

Harris Ramphul, Liasion Officer, told News on Sunday that the rice project has now reached a critical phase, with the harvest and subsequent processing before the rice gets ready to hit the market around August 2012. He explained that about twenty-five varieties of rice were tested in Mauritius and the best three were retained, given their adaptability to our soil and climate.

Rice cultivation is best in the South or the East. The project has materialised thanks to the support of various institutions, including the Bank of Investment, the State Investment Corporation, the Food and Agricultural Research Council and the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute.

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