Mauritius business minister pledges support for co-ops

The minister highlighted some of the government’s key policies around co-ops

Co-operatives are on the government’s agenda in Mauritius, says the minister of business, enterprise and co-operatives, Soomilduth Bholah.

Speaking at the country’s National Awards for Cooperatives on 14 November, Mr Bhola highlighted some of the government’s policies around co-ops, and the sector’s work on tackling poverty, generating employment and social integration.

He said the government’s 2018-2019 budget includes a series of measures to boost co-operative development, including the Sheltered Farming Scheme, which provides a loan at an interest rate of 3% and tax exemption during the first eight years of operation.

Through the Crop Insurance Scheme, the government is also offering better assistance to farmers who struggle to cope with the impact of climate change.

The minister also talked about an increase in subsidies for the producers of onion and potato seeds and a monthly income support of Rs 0.75 (£0.017) per kilo of tea leaves harvested by small planters during the three months winter period.

Fishing co-ops will benefit from a grant of 60% of the cost of acquisition of outboard engines and fishing nets up to a maximum of Rs 60,000 (£1,344). The government will also provide all registered fishermen with a free icebox while a Group Life Insurance Scheme will be introduced to enable registered fishermen to obtain coverage for accidents and losses at sea.