Since the industrialization of Mauritius, the Agricultural Sector has evolved from a mono-sugar industry into a multi-agro products much oriented towards exportation. Today, the agro sector has emerged into the following sub-sectors:
This sector has evolved from a mono-crop sector producing white sugar to a diversified cane industry producing special unrefined sugars, alcohol, molasses and ethanol. With the dismantling of a guaranteed price and abolishing quota with EU on sugar export, this sector is positioning itself by offering 17 types of special sugars, molasses and alcohol for exports. This sector has also re-engineered itself to produce electricity from bagasse, ensuring sustainability in energy production. Today the export of special sugar has increased to 145,000 tons targeting niche markets in some 50 countries. Presently, the country is producing around 350,000 tons of sugar which is also being exported under the fair-trade label. Special sugars being produced include Demerara, Golden Granulated, Golden Caster, Molasses Sugar, Light and Dark Muscovado, Coffee Crystals, amongst others. Special sugars are used in a variety of food products including cereals, dairy products, dry baking mixes, beverages, preserves and jellies, ethnic cuisine, snacks, cookies and baby foods. The main exports markets include European Union countries, the United States, Canada, in the Middle East – mainly United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Far East – mainly China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Australasia and Eastern Europe and Scandinavian Countries.
Mauritius has a total maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometers with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.96 million square kilometers and a continental shelf of 396,000 square kilometers co-managed with the Republic of Seychelles. The Mauritius seafood hub has facilities for trading, transshipment, storage and warehousing, processing, distribution and re-export of fresh, chilled and frozen raw or value-added seafood products. Fish products includes canned tuna, pre-cooked vacuum-packed tuna loins, frozen tuna loins/steaks, frozen fish fillets, fresh chilled whole fish/fish fillets, smoked fish, salted fish, fish oil and fish meal. The seafood processing sector has generated 6,000 direct employment and 10,000 indirect employment created from its ancillary services.
Historically, in 1638 when sugar cane was introduced in Mauritius from Java, the island settlers were producing “arrack” a precursor to rum. With the diversification of the sugar industry, sugar producers have opted for distilling sugar cane to produce alcohol as well as industrial rum from molasses. Distillation of cane juice is also being done to produce agricultural, flavoured and island recipe rums. Other spirits being manufactured includes island wine, beer, vodka and liqueurs.
The Mauritius food processing industrial set up adds value to a variety of agri products. The major products include animal feed and fish pellets, edible oil, wheat flour, margarine, instant noodles, pasta, black and green tea, herbal tea, moringa tea, vanilla based products, canned vegetables, biscuits and waffles, sugar confectionary and cake decorations, amongst others. The food industry also comprises SMEs who are involved in the manufacturing of a range of products such as spices, pickles and chutneys, fruits paste, jams and marmalade, flavoured honey, salted banana chips and frozen pre-cooked snacks that gives an authenticity to the unique Mauritian tastes and cuisines.