Minister Bastienne’s World Food Day message |16 October 2020
‘We should all do our part to build resilience towards a better food and nutrition security’
“Today, October 16, 2020 we celebrate once more the World Food Day, a time to reflect profoundly on the state of food and agriculture within our country.
“This year World Food Day also celebrates the 75thanniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Canada on October 16, 1945.
“This year’s theme for World Food Day’s celebrations is very fitting to the occasion: ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together: Our Actions are Our Future’; a theme that provides the moral impetus and urges us to go along together, to get up, rebuild and consolidate the future.
“Together within our respective natural borders, more than ever before, we should do our part to build resilience towards a better food and nutrition security. There are increasing threats to our over-dependency on food imports. Each one of us should assume the role of contributing in whatever way we can to nourish ourselves from our personal endeavours. As a result we could have greater control on what we eat as to allow our daily food intake of precious and wholesome foods.
“Compared to many countries worldwide, Seychelles was in past blessed and spared from natural calamities and widespread diseases and conflicts, until the coronavirus struck the world at the end of last year, bringing an impact on food and nutrition security and affecting our economy.
“Fortunately, the government, through the Comprehensive Plan for Agriculture, was already giving a new impetus to the agricultural sector, engaging farmers to be more productive, to involve them on contract farming, to plant under shade houses, to assist those in need with loans with lower interest rates, among many other initiatives.
“The government has built on all these and at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Danny Faure set up a High Level Committee (HLC) on Food Security Surveillance, chaired by myself, Charles Bastienne, to ensure food security in the country. Some of the measures taken are as follows:
- Ensuring that all 14 essentials items remain at the pre-Covid 19 prices.
- Revision of essential commodities list, adding six additional items and all are exempted from VAT
- Ensure that STC and Seypec have solid stocks in their reserve
- An emergency plan for agriculture to ensure the availability of inputs in all requisite stores and government subsidizes all agricultural inputs to maintain pre-Covid 19 prices, allowing farmers to maintain the prices of their local produce.
- Government’s intervention so that day old chicks do not increase
- Subvention on animal feed.
- Increase on levies on imported pork and poultry
- An emergency plan for fisheries was set up to ensure that the population had sufficient fish to consume during the pandemic.
“Moreover, as part of the World Food Day activities this week, a host of activities have been organised to further boost these national efforts.
“The re-launch of the national campaign ‘Every Home a Garden’ by the High Level Committee on Food Security Surveillance refreshes this spirit of investing in the hands of each abled Seychellois the responsibility as well as the mandatory contribution to his/her personal nourishment, hence his/her food and nutrition security.
“In support of this, the launch of the national campaign ‘Every School a Garden’ provides synergies to the campaign on home gardening and the two campaigns are self-re-enforcing.
“To further boost the national food security, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture is adopting a modern approach towards optimising and valorising land use in the country. A large zone of some 10 to 15 hectares of land at Montagne Posée has been earmarked for a National Orchard.
“In addition to its effort to further boost local production, which is in line with FAO’s theme for this year, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture also launched a new initiative earlier this week, La Semence – Youth Farming Enterprise. The programme is destined to Seychellois youth from 18 to 35 years old, with an ability for farming to get into local commercial farming.
“These new initiatives will surely compliment the great work currently being undertaken by our hard working, passionate and devoted farmers. The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture proudly announces a remarkable increase in broiler chicken, pork, and egg production this year compared to last year.
“From January to September 2020, the ministry has recorded 654 tonnes of broiler compared to 483 tonnes during the same period last year. This represents an increase of 35 percent. We are now at 22 percent of consumption compared to 14 percent two years ago. Our target is to hit 25 percent by the end of this year.
“For pork production, from January to September 2019 a total of 328 tonnes of pork were produced compared to 430 tonnes in the same period this year. This represents an increase of 31 percent of pork production. We are at 41 percent of consumption compared to 29 percent two years ago.
“As for egg production, there has been an increase of 6 percent from January to September this year compared to the same period last year. A total of 25.8 million eggs were recorded last year compared to 27.3 million eggs during the same period this year. All these reflect the commitment of the government and the farmers to increase the level of local production to ensure that our nation eat fresh and healthy produce.
“At this juncture we take time to salute the members of the farming and fishing communities and associations who toil the earth and harvest our vast ocean in their noble task of meeting one of the most pressing daily nutritional needs of our society.
“Let us unite as a country to put our energy, intelligence and passion to further develop the agriculture and fishing sectors. We need to realize that at the end of the day it is all about our survival!
“A happy World Food Day to all!”
Minister for Fisheries & Agriculture