Economy - Mauritian President Rajkeswur Purryag has sharply criticised the plan by the European Union (EU) to abolish the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) sugar quota regime from 2017, saying the affected countries will survive despite the EU action.
He spoke at the centenary celebration of the Médine Camp de Masque Cooperative Society, in the east of the island, that groups about 500 farmers and cooperative members engaged in the cultivation of sugar cane.
The President said the EU has forgotten that the ACP sugar-producing countries have supplied sugar to it (EU) for several decades.
'First, the EU reduced the price of sugar by 36%; we did not die of hunger in this country. Now, it wants to abolish the sugar quota regime in 2017. We will not beg, we just want more time to complete the reform of our industry that we started some years back,' he said.
President Purryag expressed the belief that the EU was not honouring its commitment towards the ACP countries.
According to him, the EU is only caring for the new member-countries of the Union coming from Eastern Europe.
'Why do you think the British brought Indian immigrants to Mauritius, Fiji and Surinam? To cultivate sugar cane because this product has not only a good economic value but also because there is not enough production in Europe,' he said, asking the EU to reconsider its decision to abolish the sugar quota regime by 2017 as it entails an overproduction of sugar in Europe and a drastic fall in the price.
Under recent reforms to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a new sugar regime will enter into force in 2017, which will include the abolition of sugar quotas.
ACP contributes 60 per cent of sugar imports to the EU, and believe that the new policy will have serious impact on ACP countries because it will lead to market instability and price volatility.