With the abolition of the EU sugar quota by 2017 looming large, the Mauritius sugarcane industry is turning to technology to counter the challenges facing the sugar sector.

Accordingly, Mauritius Minister for Agro-Industry, Satish Faugoo, launched the Near Infrared Cane Testing System in Mauritius yesterday, in collaboration with Omnicane Milling Operations Ltd.

While launching the new infrared cane testing system, the Jeffco Infracana II, the minister said that this is a big step forward in the reforms undertaken in the sugarcane industry.

The Jeffco Infracana II Cane Analyser can be operated by just one person and performs an analysis of a cane sample under four minutes. There are multiple benefits to be derived from this system such as automation, more representative analysis, speed of analysis, user friendliness and transparent as it is an open design. The system is also environment friendly as no chemicals or reagents are required.

The minister noted that to face the challenges arising in the near future, the sugarcane industry must be innovative and quality driven.

The minister expressed his conviction that Mauritius can overcome the forthcoming challenges but noted with regret that even as the industry is investing in the latest technologies, small planters are abandoning their fields.

He cautioned that technology is just a component of the reform, but without planters and, especially small planters, the sugar sector cannot step into modernity, noting that every stakeholder is an important link to ensure that the traditional industry moves forward into a modern future.

He underlined that various schemes have been put in place to ensure that small planters do not abandon their fields and added that new measures will shortly be introduced to encourage them to continue cultivating sugar cane.

The minister outlined various way to counter the challenges facing the industry such as reducing costs, focusing on quality, adding value to existing products and putting in place a new model that is fully functional.

While remaining economically, environmentally and socially viable, the industry must also ensure that small planters are integrated with the latest developments, he added.

Meanwhile, at the 4th EU summit held over the last two days in Brussels, Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam and the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs discussed the implications of the abolition of sugar quota by 2017.

The Prime Minister stood strongly in favour of corrective measures for the most affected countries by the decision concerning the abolition of sugar quota by the EU, which will be effective as from 2017.

With the abolition of sugar quotas, countries such as Mauritius will face serious repercussions, as the price of sugar dips sharply.

Andris Piebalgs promised to support Mauritius during the transition period in the wake of the abolition of sugar quota and assured that corrective measures would be taken to mitigate its impact on the cane industry and Mauritian economy.

Image (World of Stock): Mauritius Minister for Agro-Industry, Satish Faugoo, launched the Near Infrared Cane Testing System in Mauritius yesterday, in collaboration with Omnicane Milling Operations Ltd.

More business news on AfricaMoney