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Mauritius

ISO: 
MUS
Subregion: 
Hide on Benchmarking: 
0
French: 
Maurice
Spanish: 
Mauricio
DMP_ID: 
27
ASTI-Country: 
1
Main Agency Acronym(s): 
FAREI

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Mauritius: ASTI–FAREI Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Kathleen Flaherty, Chandasa Koyelas, and Jairaj Ramkissoon

Year:
2014

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute.

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Mauritius

National spending on agricultural research grew during 2008–2011 due to increased salary expenses and capital investments at AREU, the country’s main government agricultural research agency. These investments were funded by the government and various donors.

Mauritius’s largest agricultural research agency, MSIRI, focuses on sugarcane and until recently generated its funding through a tax on the proceeds of sugar production. With the phasing out of the EU sugar protocol and the end of fixed sugar prices, the institute has faced serious financial constraints and been forced to supplement its funding through other sources.

The number of agricultural researchers in Mauritius fell during 2008–2011, largely due to a 28-percent decline in the number of BSc-qualified researchers (in FTEs). The number of researchers with PhD and MSc degrees remained fairly stable during this period, although Mauritius has one of the lowest shares of PhD-qualified agricultural researchers in Africa.

Benchmarking Agricultural Research Investment and Capacity Indicators Across Southern African Countries

Total investments in public agricultural R&D in the Southern African countries included in this study increased slightly from the 1990s to 2008. Overall, the 2001–08 investment growth in these countries was lower than average growth in other subregions of the continent. With the exception of Tanzania, public research spending growth stagnated or was negative. However, agricultural research in the middle-income countries of South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, and Botswana was comparatively well-funded by their national governments. These countries outperformed other subregions, as well as neighboring lower income countries, in many key areas. They are less dependent on donor contributions and development bank loans than are the subregion’s low-income countries which have been subject to funding volatility associated with fluctuating allocations and disbursement schedules.

Overall agricultural research staffing in the SADC countries has also grown slightly since the 1990s, but not as much as countries in other subregions of Africa. Corresponding to the high agricultural investment intensity ratios, the middle- income countries have high ratios of agricultural researchers to agricultural laborers. South Africa in particular leads the subregion with its well-established agricultural research agencies and universities. In 2008, South Africa employed the highest share of PhD-qualified research staff among the SADC countries (46 percent).

Strengthening research capacity continues to be a challenge in most of the Southern African countries, and the lack of local PhD programs particularly limits training in Botswana and Namibia. Agricultural researchers in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe are among the least highly qualified in SSA given that about half are qualified to the BSc level only. Other countries, such as Madagascar and Tanzania, employ an aging pool of researchers as a consequence of long-term government recruitment freezes, so recently recruited staff are young, less qualified, and often have limited training opportunities.

Mauritius: ASTI–FARC Country Brief

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Beintema, Nienke M.; Ramkissoon, Jairaj; Icochea, Olympia

Year:
2003

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR); and Food and Agricultural Research Council (FARC)

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Mauritius

In contrast to many other countries in Africa the great majority of agricultural R&D in Mauritius has been funded, historically, from national sources. Sugar research, consistent with its dominant role in both  agriculture and the economy, accounts for more than half the domestic agricultural research spending.
MSIRI, which is predominantly funded by a levy on sugar production, has established itself among the world-renowned centers for sugarcane research. Research focused on nonsugar crops and livestock is  undertaken by AREU and five departments under MAFNR, while the role of the higher-education and private sectors in agricultural research is limited.
Given the high level of investment in sugar research, the intensity of  research and research spending is high in Mauritius relative to other developing countries. Nevertheless, in line with world trends, agricultural research spending and staffing levels have decreased in the past few years with the contraction of domestic and international funding.

Mauritius: ASTI–FARC Country Note

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Rahija, Michael; Ramkissoon, Jairaj; Stads, Gert-Jan

Year:
2010

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Food and Agricultural Research Council (FARC)

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Mauritius

Historically, agricultural R&D in Mauritius has been funded through national sources. Sugarcane research is financed through a tax on sugar production, while nonsugarcane research is primarily funded by the national government. In 2008, Mauritius invested 336 million rupees or 23 million PPP dollars in agricultural R&D (in 2005 prices)—an  extremely large amount given the country’s size. Agricultural R&D spending as a share of agricultural output, at more than 4 percent in 2008, is by far the highest level of any country in Sub-Saharan Africa. In comparison, average investment levels in most African countries are well below 1 percent of AgGDP.

Despite these high levels of investment, public agricultural R&D  expenditures in Mauritius have gradually fallen since reaching a peak in 2002. Capital investments at MOI, which was only established in 2000, were exceptionally high in 2002 but fell thereafter. Spending at MSIRI, the country’s largest agricultural R&D agency, also fell during 2001–08 due to reduced world sugar prices and production levels, which caused a 30 percent contraction in the institute’s principal funding source, a tax on the proceeds of sugarcane production, during this timeframe.

In contrast, human resource capacity in agricultural R&D gradual increased between 2000 and 2008. Rapidly falling scientist numbers at MSIRI were offset by increasing researcher numbers at AREU. This reflects official government policy aiming to diversify the country’s  economy away from sugarcane production. Average qualification levels of agricultural scientists have also improved, though the share of PhD-qualified staff is relatively low compared with many other African countries.

Overall, agricultural R&D in Mauritius is very well-staffed and funded. The national government realizes the important role that agricultural R&D plays in the development of the agricultural sector and the economy more generally, and has various well-functioning policies and funding mechanisms in place to support the sector.


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