Mauritian President Rajkeswur Purryag told European parliamentarians here Wednesday they should consider reviewing the decision to abolish sugar quotas as projections have indicated that sugar production in the EU will expand significantly and prices will fall by 2017.
Speaking at the opening of the 11th Regional Meeting (East African Region) of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) meeting in Port-Louis, Purryag expressed Mauritius’ concern as regards the conclusions of a study by the EU Commission published last December, while expressing appreciation for the support provided to ACP Sugar Supplying States in the context of the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
According to the President, such projections mean that only the most competitive producers will be able to survive with a price that is expected to be around 400 euros a tonne.
'Reviewing the decision to abolish sugar quotas would be beneficial for countries like Mauritius since the restructuring, modernisation and transformation of the country’s sugar cane industry have not been completed yet,' the President stressed, observing that this important modernisation exercise has been delayed by the unprecedented 2007/08 food, fuel and financial crises which were not anticipated when the Accompanying Measures for the Sugar sector were discussed.
'We would like parliamentarians to support a decision to allow the allocation and reallocation of all the resources available in the EU Budget for the Accompanying Measures to be fully utilised post-2014,' said Purryag.
Furthermore, he stated that the ACP Sugar Protocol countries collectively have the capacity to use the available resources.
'Mauritius needs those resources to complete its modernisation plan so as to make its sugar cane industry viable and profitable. This is particularly important in view of the multi-functional role that the sugar cane industry plays in our small island developing economy,' he said.
The ACP-EU JPA provides a forum to highlight and discuss the regional dimension of the four-decade-old model of North-South Cooperation.
The agenda comprises of three working sessions on issues ranging from regional integration and cooperation, peace and security challenges in the region, to services industry and its contribution to development.
The meeting is also a framework for participants to be more familiar with the specifics of small islands, their vulnerabilities, the aspirations of their people as well as the measures taken to improve their standards of living and make respective countries more competitive on the global market.