Agriculture has been the bedrock of the Mauritius economy for decades. Starting from a mono-crop sector, it is now fully diversified with over 711 tariff lines being produced locally and exported. While the industrial base of Mauritius has been considerably widened, the agricultural and agro-processing sector remains a vital pillar of the economy as sugar cane fields continue to dominate the landscape of the island. Keeping pace with the industrial development of the country, this sector has undergone substantial modernisation, transformation and diversification. For instance, the sugar industry has graduated into the cane industry with production of refined and special sugars, alcohol and rum, while high value-added horticulture, fruits and vegetables and a multitude of processed foods are now produced locally.
The sector has been servicing the needs of the population for years but self-sufficiency nowadays stands at 23%. Today, the sector represents 3.5% of the national economy, with sugar cane cultivation and sugar production as prime activities. In its endeavour to reduce dependency on food imports, increase revenues and export earnings, government is actively encouraging agricultural and agro-industrial development with budgetary measures encouraging bio-agriculture and shelter farming as well as production of higher end products such as nutraceuticals. Moreover, to promote the exportation of various agricultural products grown in Mauritius and to enhance product delivery in terms of speed to market to European countries, the Government introduced a 40% rebate on air freight cost for the export of fruits, flowers, vegetables and chilled fish.