COVID-19 - ‘Agricultural producers association not mandated to distribute farmland’ | 30 April 2020
The Agricultural Producers Association of Seychelles has confirmed that the organisation is no longer responsible for distributing the 14 plots of agricultural land promised by President Danny Faure to farmers.
In an interview yesterday, Agricultural Producers Association of Seychelles (Apas) chairman Barry Nourrice explained that the association relinquished this responsibility to the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) after it came to the conclusion that it did not have a mandate to undertake the distribution and allocation of farmland.
“We were aware of the plots of land that remained uncultivated and suggested that these be given to farmers; we merely presented this idea as a suggestion. We cannot dictate to the government what to do but later the president announced that 14 plots of land would be given to the association,” said Mr Nourrice.
“But many things have to be taken into consideration when you give an association land to distribute. The problem comes from the re-distribution of these lands since we had to decide which farmers could benefit and this goes beyond our mandate. Rather, this falls under the mandate of the department of land and the SAA and the right way is for them to handle the allocation,” Mr Nourrice added.
Mr Nourrice explained that the association brought this matter to the attention of President Faure during the first meeting of the high level committee for food security which the former presently sits on.
The association further met with the principal secretary for agriculture Antoine Marie Moustache and the chief executive of the SAA Linetta Estico to explain the reasoning behind why Asap cannot be the custodian of the 14 plots of land.
“An association comprises members who in our case are farmers. Where and how would we start this distribution? The association does not have data on the farmers and other relevant details that would have helped us form our decisions; it would not be feasible for an association to allocate land.”
Nonetheless, the association has strongly recommended that the distribution follows some strict guidelines.
Asap wants these farmlands to be distributed to farmers who are actively producing crops and those who have the capacity and resources to cultivate the additional farmland in the immediate.
Seychelles NATION contacted the SAA yesterday but could not gather any information, but has been told the SAA would provide the information later which we hope to bring you in a future edition.