Industry reps hail trades tax reductions for fishing, farming


23-July-2004

The reductions, announced on Wednesday July 21 by Natural resources principal secretary Finley Racombo, apply to a variety of equipment, materials and accessories used by farmers and fishermen.
 
Speaking on behalf of farmers and fishermen in the country, the chairman of the Farmers' Association of Seychelles, Serge Benstrong, and Fishing Boat Owners' Association chairman Beatty Hoareau said they welcome the decision, calling it a sign that the government had taken heed of their concerns and that it was committed to assist them in improving their conditions.

"This is a positive step forward that hopefully will help us to cut down on our costs," Mr Benstrong said, adding that he was also optimistic that farmers could increase productivity while passing the benefits to consumers in terms of prices on vegetables and meat products.

He said, however, that most farmers sell their products through a "middle-man" and explained that this was the reason why sometimes the prices of products were higher.

"We are now in the process of finalising the setting up of our farmers' cooperative, which will give us access to a retail outlet to sell our products directly to members of the public," Mr Benstrong revealed.

As far as any reduction in prices of fish on the market, Mr Hoareau said that at a time when government was moving ahead with plans to liberalise the economy, the fish market was one area that has already been liberalised.

"The prices of fish are based on supply and demand and the fluctuations in prices are normal," Mr Hoareau explained.

He said when fish is in abundance, they are normally sold at very low prices, but in periods of scarcity, it was normal for prices to go up.

Mr Hoareau said the stabilisation of fish prices will require the setting up of a cooperative and a major storage area, a project which will need huge investments and one that fishermen were not financially ready to undertake at the moment.

He said representatives from the fishing sector were still in consultation with the government to see what other areas they could tackle to bring in more concessions.

 

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