Seychelles is expected to increase production of chicken, pork and 15 varieties of vegetables with the support of a regional initiative on food and nutrition security.
The details of this initiative, the Indian Ocean Commission Regional Programme for Food Security and Nutrition, or PRESAN, were unveiled Friday at the Ministry for Fisheries and Agriculture. PRESAN is being supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Antoine Moustache, the principal secretary for agriculture and focal point for the initiative in Seychelles, said the programme supports local plans for both local and regional opportunities – commercially – in the agricultural sector.
“We need to see how we can increase local products. We will use our comprehensive agriculture plan launched recently to move forward with the support of PRESAN. The plan has three specific targets, two for meat productions – pork and chicken – and a third target for other agricultural products,” explained Moustache.
A poultry farm on Denis Island. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
According to Moustache with these targets by 2021, 50 percent of chicken and pork consumed should be locally produced. The plan also allows for possibilities for importation and exportation of agricultural products amongst the Indian Ocean islands.
“Once we have achieved these targets, we will then explore what we, as Seychelles can buy from the other islands. Rice, for instance, is produced in Madagascar – which also has the most fertile land for agriculture in the region,” said Moustache who added that carrots, onions and beef are other products which can be sourced in the region.
PRESAN is the fruit of the Indian Ocean Commission initiative whose member states have made food and nutrition security a political priority. The ambitious programme developed with the assistance of FAO is designed for producers, consumers, the private sector and more generally to increase and improve trade in agricultural and food products in the Indian Ocean region by reducing trade and nutritional deficits.
Catherine Rakotomanga, director of the IOC Regional Unit for Food Security and Nutrition (COI-URSAN), which was created to facilitate the implementation of the regional programme, said PRESAN “supports each country to firstly ensure food and nutrition security of its people and secondly encourages the exportation of the surplus.”
Rakotomanga, who is based in Madagascar, added that this can be done only after “establishing a quality of standards, availability of infrastructures for exportation and agreements between member states.”
Moustache added that with Seychelles – a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – geared towards aquaculture, there is a possibility for exportation of bycatch to other islands.
Moustache said that currently 60 percent of the agriculture land of the island nation are underutilised, and hopes with the island nation’s comprehensive plan this situation can be reversed.
Source: Seychelles News Agency