The Republic of Mauritius
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Case study // The Republic of Mauritius

Mauritius has recently developed a remarkable tourist and financial sector. Nevertheless the agricultural sector is still strong: The sugarcane production uses a considerable part of the water resources. This case study focusses on the options of reaching food and energy sufficiency on Mauritius by changes in the agricultural sector.

 

External constraint: Shortage of suitable land - A large-scale move from existing sugarcane plantations to food crop production for internal consumption is subject to geographic constraints, including soil type, slope, and hydrological characteristics. The traditional crop mix cultivated right now in Mauritius cannot be simply extrapolated to the entire area presently under sugarcane. Using the existing crop characteristics (but obviously other crops and varieties could be introduced) we assess that the existing crop mix can only be expanded on 64.6% of the agricultural area. Maize could perhaps be grown on some of the rest (another 22% of the total), given the demand for this cereal to feed chicken in Mauritius is large, leaving the rest of the area (13.4%) to sugarcane. This new crop mix, with a dramatic reduction of sugarcane, will positively affect water metabolism, reducing the consumption of water of the agricultural sector.

In this second scenario the shift from sugarcane plantations to food cultivation (taking into account internal and external constraints) will not significantly improve the level of food self-sufficiency for Mauritius. The internal coverage of the food requirement will increase from 16% to 33% of the total.

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